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Steam engine - carbon fiber

  1. Aug 15, 2007 #1
    Would it be possible to build a steam engine using parts made primarily of carbon fiber? Any engine?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 15, 2007 #2
    do you know what material is used in engine parts?? and why they are used there?? like strength, ability to withstand high temperatures of those materials..
    i dont know if there are any engines made of carbon fiber part, but if carbon fiber or any other material has all the properties to match up conventional material and outbeat them, it surely can be used. thats what has been happening for so long.
  4. Aug 15, 2007 #3


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    The epoxy in carbon fibre probably wouldn't last long in contact with high temperature steam. You could probably make a boiler with a thin steel liner strengthened with an external carbon fibre jacket - but there isn't a huge demand for aerospace grade steam trains.
    Generally CF is used where it's ligth weight justifies the cost and difficulty in making it - the only engine applications I can think of are in the front fan blades and shrouds of turbofan aircraft engines.
  5. Aug 16, 2007 #4
    Maybe fused with ceramic powers the CF would take on different properties.

    Have you seen this?


    Note: T-Foam = Core Cell brand
    I understand this carbon laminated foam material has a premium cost to it, even if it's not being shipped from England. Pretty cool though, right? Guess any hovercraft you made might have to look like a Stealth Fighter though.


    NOTE: keep in mind that carbon fiber is a conductor of electricity

    Old HCA thread:
  6. Aug 16, 2007 #5


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    The first attempt at composite fan blades failed because of problems with rain water damage causing delamination (The first Rolls-Royce RB211 fan, c.1970)

    Personally I won't ever fly in an airliner with CF fan blades - I know enough to be very afraid, but not enough to be confident the fear is irrational :yuck:
  7. Aug 16, 2007 #6


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    You might be able to make an air-motor with a substantial number of carbon-fiber composite parts. Just a thought.
  8. Aug 16, 2007 #7


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    I hadn't realised they weren't CF, I know some are titanium which has it's own problems. It takes a particular kind of brilliance to invent an engien that can be ruined by rain when your office is in Derby!
  9. Aug 17, 2007 #8
    I'm sure a lot of progress has been made in the last 37 years, first attempts often fail.
  10. Aug 17, 2007 #9
  11. Aug 21, 2007 #10
    I'm posting this as a late additon to this thread because I just found something of interest, enjoy.

  12. Aug 30, 2007 #11
    Yeah , and then there was that air accident where all lives were lost when the Carbon fibre composite tail fin became frayed and the whole section just fell off. I think there have been incidents with helicopter blades as well. django
  13. Aug 30, 2007 #12


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    American Airlines Flight 587, was an Airbus 300 with a CF vertical stabiliser (rudder). It failed when the pilots used a large amount of rudder in flight to counter some wake turbulence.
    The CF actually failed at several times it's design load - much better than a metal one would have done.
    The actual cause was either badly trained pilots using too much rudder or the non fly-by-wire A300 allowing them to use so much rudder force in flight - depending on whose lawyers you believe.

    There was unfortunately a lot of politics behind it and the CF was blamed in a lot of uninformed news stories. Calls to ban CF was quitely dropped when Boeing started to look at using CF in it's new aircraft.
  14. Sep 2, 2007 #13
    I know a guy who makes helicopter tail rotor blades from carbon fiber.
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