Useful Features That Reduce Delamination In 50mm Carbon Clincher Wheels

Generally, 50mm carbon clincher wheels are quite easy to use, durable and flexible enough for a variety of racing terrain. They can also have a variety of extra features that make them even more user-friendly. Such features are particularly useful in reducing chances of delamination - a characteristic form of damage in these composite materials.

Features To Reduce Delamination In A 50mm Carbon Clincher Wheelset

When designing bike wheels, manufacturers always take into account the risks of failure within the material. Such risks are found in every type of material, not just 50mm carbon clincher rims. Hence, manufacturers also develop mechanisms to reduce chances of such failure.

Various risk-mitigating features include:

(i) Lowering the braking surface: The braking surface may be lowered from the wall of the wheel rims in order to reduce chances of damage due to heating. In extreme situations, such overheating can lead to delamination in the fiber. (ii) Application of crushed basalt: Embedding crushed basalt into the braking surface is a useful feature that helps to dissipate heat created while braking. This further reduces the chances of overheating. (iii) Application of a high gloss finish: Apart from having a smooth shape, the rims may have a special finish treatment to reduce friction. Inevitably, reduced friction would avert overheating of the rims.

However, you need to realize that damage to carbon bike wheels would only occur in extreme conditions. Otherwise, such composite materials would not be used in aircraft construction, which entails high standards of safety. The Center for Nondestructive Evaluation of the Iowa State University reveals that the weight of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner is composed of approximately 50% composite material. Most of this composite material is actually carbon fiber laminates and sandwiches. Considering the high levels of stress forces that such aircraft have to endure, this shows how strong the fiber is. That is definitely something worth having on your bike wheel.

If you're still inquisitive about what would happen in the rare cases of heat damage on carbon material, here is a simple description. Despite being very strong, carbon fiber would fail under certain extreme conditions, just like every other type of material. The material constituting the carbon wheel would experience delamination due to repeated cyclic stresses or impact. This causes separation of layers creating a mica-like structure that reduces toughness of the material.

The interesting thing about delamination is that it is generally not visible on the surface, since it develops within the material. If you are concerned whether your carbon bike wheel is already affected, which rarely occurs, there is an easy method you can use to check. The sound of the material will show you. Normally a solid, unaffected surface will produce a bright sound. On the other hand, surfaces that have experienced delamination will produce a dull sound.

It might be wiser to simply replace the bike wheel after a serious crash. Such serious impacts combined with the inevitable prolonged braking could potentially cause flaws within the carbon composite frame.

Fortunately, you will hardly encounter delamination on your carbon bike wheel during normal training and race conditions. Reputable manufacturers ensure that their products offer excellent performance without incident during normal use.

Carbon Bike Wheels provide expertly crated and durable 50mm carbon clincher wheels suitable to a wide variety of race conditions. Visit for more details.

This article was published on 23 Jun 2014 and has been viewed 21487 times
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