Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Northern Nevada
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Originally Posted by berner
I've worked with carbon fiber for many years in yacht building applications and while working for a defense industry contractor. The carbon fibor will take planty of heat but the epoxy resin of typical composite laminates begins to soften around 200 degrees F. There may well be resins that work at higher heat. You need to contact resin manufacturers for specific info on your application.
Can't speak from personal experience, but a neighbor of mine was an engineer for a company that designed carbon fiber aircraft fuselages. As others have said, it would depend on the resin, but as I recall (it's been a few years), they routinely subjected their stuff to temps from +400 well down into the minuses, simulating high-altitude operation. He claimed it performed better than aluminum alloys. As for bikes, it's just hard to believe a manufacturer would build a bike that would fall apart from heat before the rider burst into flame.
One warning: In stress tests, the CF aircraft would withstand several times as many cycles as aluminum before failure. But the alloy gave some warning, with cracks and whatnot. The carbon lasted far longer, but then essentially disintegrated all at once.