New Carbon Fiber Stays Strong when Knotted
Knots are everywhere, so unless you find one particularly annoying, it is possible you will not pay them much mind. Other people do though, as knots in fibers can weaken them considerably, even carbon fiber which is renowned for its strength. Now researchers at Rice University have found a new way to produce carbon fibers that suffer no ill-effects from knots, which could have a great impact on multiple industries.
When a knot is tied in a fiber, its twists put uneven stresses on the material, making it more likely to break at the knot than anywhere else. Exactly how much the material is weakened depends on the fiber's bending modulus; a measure of its flexibility. What the Rice researchers have discovered is a way to make a graphene oxide carbon fiber with such a low modulus that it behaves as though the knot was not there. This means the fiber itself is not weakened by the knot, and that could prove very useful for multiple industries.
As impressive as this strength is, the researchers suggest it could increase when the fibers are annealed at high temperatures. The fibers themselves were produced at room temperature, instead of the 2100 ºC industry standard for carbon fibers.
Source: Rice University