Carbon fiber could be Apple's key to a lighter next-gen iPad

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  • Reply 41 of 127
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,901member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by huntson View Post


    Can someone explain to me exactly how carbon fiber breaks. I understand the concept that if you put stress on an object made out of the material in the same direction as the seams then it will break. What I don't get is how my tripods (I am a t producer) made out of carbon fiber have never broken



    It isn't the carbon fiber that you worry about, but the substrate. Either it's embedded in epoxy, or polyester most of the time. Neither has much strength by itself, and is very subject to impact breakage. Also there are various grades of carbon fiber sheet used to make products. The price of the same thickness sheets varies by a ten to one ratio, so the quality differences are great. I've got two pro carbon fiber tripods, and they're great. But they aren't as sturdy as my aluminum ones. They flex a lot more. If I were to smack the carbon fiber leg with something hard, it would show a bad impact result, with the center, where it was hit being cratered off, and cracks expanding from that point. The layers might separate around the area. The aluminum leg would just dent a small bit.
  • Reply 42 of 127
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,901member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Isidore View Post


    Boats, road cars, all formula 1 racing cars (which have tremendous impact strength) many different aircraft, both military and non military, and even other computer devices- Sony come to mind. the only thing they can be patenting is some specific manufacturing or design technique, not the use of the material. I would love them to use cfrp for this and the Macbook Air. It's light, won't dent like aluminium and won't dent or scratch other things. And when the device finally dies, it will make a lovely high tech tea tray.



    Boats are mostly made from fiberglass. An entire board hull made from carbon fiber would cost several times as much. They do use them for parts of aircraft wings, where expense is of less importance.



    And it does break. Oh yes. Thus isn't a miracle material.One main advantage to it is the flex. In areas where there is a lot of torsion, and where it can't be prevented, carbon fiber is great. Metal will get stress cracking after a while, and fiberglass simply isn't strong enough.
  • Reply 43 of 127
    I'm not sure I see the patentable idea here. The use of bias-ply fiber construction is older than civilization. As is the use of rigid frameworks to add strength to weaker materials. This isn't innovation, but simply practical application.
  • Reply 44 of 127
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    Boats are mostly made from fiberglass. An entire board hull made from carbon fiber would cost several times as much. They do use them for parts of aircraft wings, where expense is of less importance.



    And it does break. Oh yes. Thus isn't a miracle material.One main advantage to it is the flex. In areas where there is a lot of torsion, and where it can't be prevented, carbon fiber is great. Metal will get stress cracking after a while, and fiberglass simply isn't strong enough.



    Yes, I had a carbon fibre softball bat, which broke after a few months of use. And softballs are, well, pretty soft.
  • Reply 45 of 127
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Felix01 View Post


    @"Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs quieted those rumors < 7-inch iPad> in October, when he said a 7-inch tablet is too small for most consumers."



    I don't suppose there have been any instances in the past of SJ intentionally leading the hounds off the scent?



    Now let me count 'em....



    We should count them as well as list them, because what Jobs said about the 7? tablet being too small was very specific to the size, not to other vendors not being able to do it right.
  • Reply 46 of 127
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    Apple sure does seem to be playing around with a lot of materials tech that never see the light of day.



    A while back we had a ceramic material that would be transparent to radio waves, then the Liquidmetal, now some carbon fiber arrangement...



    Yet all the products are still good old aluminum, glass and plastic. I demand an Apple device crafted from Zirconium, Liquidmetal and carbon fiber!
  • Reply 47 of 127
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post


    We? Who's "we"?



    Me 'n him 'n some other guys. (narrows eyes) Why? You wanna make something of it?
  • Reply 48 of 127
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


    Ok, sorry to have missed the debunking. I was under the impression as it was so much stronger it could be far thinner thus overcoming the weight issue.



    Quote:

    Liquidmetal is harder and stronger than any other alloy. So why can't anyone make money selling the stuff?\t "Think plastic," John Kang says with a smile, holding up small slab of blue-gray metal and passing it over for inspection in his Lake Forest, Calif., office. The shiny ingot doesn't look or feel like plastic....



    At the same time, Kang's production engineers will work on fixing Liquidmetal's biggest commercial Drawback: its cost. A pound of Liquidmetal currently costs $12 to $15 to produce compared with $3 to $5 for stainless-steel and aluminum, and $6 to $15 for titanium).



    While its strength to weight would allow it to be used to make something as strong, but lighter, it would cost more as well.



    I think Apples main interest is in using it for small complicated parts that are very highly stressed, like hinges.



    This rather 'awkward' video attempts to demonstrate differences between thin sheet liquidmetal and thin sheet anodised aluminium: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Kczwxy3_TM



    While the liquidmetal is clearly superior, it just desn't seem to be superior enough in thin sheet form to be worth the bother.
  • Reply 49 of 127
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,490member
    "The application notes that electronic devices with housings made of plastic often crack. And those with a metal back are durable, but can be heavier and more expensive."



    And those made of glass are heavier still and often shatter.



    I very much dislike the iPhone 4 enclosure. In addition to the above characteristics, the flat glass is too slippery. It's too easy to drop and too easy to lose the phone between the cushions. Glass being significantly heavier than plastic, the force of impact after a fall is significantly increased, with far more dire consequences.
  • Reply 50 of 127
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BuffyzDead View Post


    When I suggested the use of Carbon Fiber, a few months back when rumors of the Air redesign, people jumped down my neck because of Carbon's poor wireless "transmission" capabilities.



    So,

    Bluetooth, Wireless N, GPS, and other possible radio's,

    have no issue's with Carbon?



    Apple will just move the antenna to the outside of the device. It gets the best reception that way.
  • Reply 51 of 127
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    Boats are mostly made from fiberglass. An entire board hull made from carbon fiber would cost several times as much. They do use them for parts of aircraft wings, where expense is of less importance.



    Entire airplanes are now made of carbon fiber, and have been for many years now -- in general aviation at least. The long-term durability of these airframes, particularly considering exposure to sun, is still a question, but then the durability of aluminum airframes has exceeded anyone's expectations.
  • Reply 52 of 127
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    You patent everything that you develop that can be patented. This has always been the case, and it always will. A business is being very lax if they fail to do so. If the patented product isn't useful, then no one else will want it anyway, and it's cheap enough for a large company to do.



    Whether this one is useful has yet to be proven. It will be somewhat lighter, but less rigid that the current back, despite the methods used, and will be bulkier.



    I don't doubt that Apple should take advantage of the US government's willingness to grant patents to them. The problem I was referring to is that the US patent office is out of control and is patenting things that are not "novel and nonobvious". Building a computer case out of an existing carbon fiber material is not novel or nonobvious.



    http://www.bloggersbase.com/computer...-fiber-laptop/



    http://www.google.com/search?client=...er+laptop+body
  • Reply 53 of 127
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addabox View Post


    Me 'n him 'n some other guys. (narrows eyes) Why? You wanna make something of it?



    Yeah!



    Who's your Daddy?



    .
  • Reply 54 of 127
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post


    There goes all the recycling gains of Aluminum and glass!



    That's what I'm thinking. I don't think carbon fiber is very recyclable. Also, it takes quite a lot of energy to cure the woven sheets into a rigid structure (2000C in pure nitrogen in an autoclave.) Giving it a very large (what else?) carbon footprint.



    Even carbon fiber-reinforced polymers are going to be hard to recycle. No autoclave, but high-carbon filaments will be mixed in with the plastic. Maybe Apple is developing a new recycling technique...
  • Reply 55 of 127
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post


    ...

    I think Apples main interest is in using it for small complicated parts that are very highly stressed, like hinges.

    ...



    Not sure about that. Hinges are small and only comprise a small fraction of, say, a MacBook Air's total weight. Using carbon fiber on its hinges would make very little difference.



    And I don't think CF is good at resisting friction or for surviving twisting forces.
  • Reply 56 of 127
    dcj001dcj001 Posts: 301member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post


    We? Who's "we"?



    A group of people not including "you."
  • Reply 57 of 127
    dcj001dcj001 Posts: 301member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bmxdmb134 View Post


    Don't leave your iPad on the roof of your car and then drive off... My father-in-law figured this rule out the hard way.



    His iPad was a crinkly sheet of metal and plastic by the end....



    I'll add this to my list of things to not do.



    Now that I look, this was already on the list.



    Never mind.
  • Reply 58 of 127
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bill-G View Post


    Apple will just move the antenna to the outside of the device. It gets the best reception that way.







    Classic!
  • Reply 59 of 127
    bagmanbagman Posts: 349member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by huntson View Post


    Can someone explain to me exactly how carbon fiber breaks. I understand the concept that if you put stress on an object made out of the material in the same direction as the seams then it will break. What I don't get is how my tripods (I am a t producer) made out of carbon fiber have never broken



    I asked this very question when I was considering buying/building a carbon fiber Lancair aircraft back in 2001. The FAA approved the Lancair Columbia, but took an inordinate amount of time trying to come up with formulas that would explain precise breaking points (there is precious little in the literature or experience). The FAA likes metallic skins for wings, because you have to prove that the wing will withstand about 150% or so of probable maximum stress before breaking. Metal breaks in predictable fashion, whereas carbon fiber does not. In fact, the FAA just about gave up on trying to get the Lancair wing to break, which created a dilemma.



    Anyhow, carbon fiber is more rigid, but may not bend as much before breaking, but can usually take much more force before shattering (so I have been led to believe).



    I opted for an aluminum plane because I wanted a plane that was easier to repair, and one which resisted outside weathering better (carbon fiber does not hold up very well compared to aluminum).



    Anyhow, a carbon-fiber case would certainly be lightweight, and could be designed to be very inflexible to resist twisting.



    Whatever happened to all the ceramic uses that everyone was touting a few years back? Maybe carbon fiber is the way to go now, but I would still think other materials may also be considere. The very thin liquid metal would make sense, as long as it was made non-conductive or insulated. Carbon fiber and ceramic can be made very insular, so I'm told, which may be a factor. Also, the ability to wick heat away from the batteries is also a current consideration.



    Cosmetically, metal, plastic, or ceramic seems more desirable, as carbon fiber has to be painted or coated to look uniform. I love the look of the iPhone 4, and hope they don't cheapen the look in the future, but realize that reducing weight in the iPad is a valid consideration, since the current weight makes it much less desirable for certain tasks (eg reading in bed or toting around).
  • Reply 60 of 127
    The current macbook pros have been reported to have a problem with displacing of heat compared to well build plastic-laptops. Carbon fiber might help in that regard? Not sure how the epoxy in the carbon fiber would deal with constant heat though.
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