Office of Undergraduate Research

Development Of Test Standards For Improved Safety Of Advanced Carbon-Fiber Bicycles

This overall project relates to development of new industry standards for polymer based carbon fiber bicycle forks that were subject to a voluntary recall issued by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (June 2, 2009, Release # 09-234). The goal of this study is to advance the knowledge of failure processes in carbon fiber bicycle parts and to advance the state of ASTM test standards currently under development.

Tasks and responsibilities:

Through a variety of observation and testing techniques, the methods proposed in this research plan will be provided so that better standards can be developed for bicycle components made using carbon-fiber composites. The subjects of this test plan will be forks of a manufactured batch with reported problems that prompted the parts to be recalled. Whether standard tests that are already in place would identify problems in these purportedly defective or potentially defective parts will be determined through this process. In addition, this plan proposes to test the effects induced by incidental impact that would leave no visible damage, but might be reasonably expected during regular use.This plan will apply a unique combination of test sequences such that the question of whether impacts will make a difference in specimen capacity may be answered. A variety of sate-of-the-art imaging and microscopic equipment will enable the student to examine specimens both externally and internally.