26 March 2010
26 March 2010
The first use of carbon fibre reinforcement for the frames of swimming goggles has made it possible to cut the weight, reduce the drag, and improve the comfort of this critical component of the gear used by athletes in professional, triathlon, and other high-performance competitions.
The new goggles, called Carbon Race, were introduced this month by blueseventy, which supplies swimming products for competitive athletes. Blue Fuzion Group developed the goggles, whose two eyecup frames are moulded from a Beetle carbon fibre-reinforced polyamide 66 compound formulated for the application by Teknor Apex UK Ltd.
Until now, the industry used polycarbonate for the eyecup frames of its goggles, but the carbon fibre-reinforced Beetle compound proved to be lighter, according to Neil McConnochie, Managing Director of the Blue Fuzion Group, Hong Kong, “Polycarbonate not only weighs more but is nowhere near as strong as the carbon fibre reinforced polyamide,” said Mr. McConnochie. “The added strength enabled us to reduce the thickness of the frame, especially in the torsion points where other components of the goggle come together, such as the nose bridge and the strap. Compared with a similar style of goggle, our new Carbon Race product is 12 to 15% lighter than a conventional construction.”
The eyecup frames are streamlined to reduce drag, have a textured surface, and are joined at the nose bridge by specially designed locking pins. Polycarbonate lenses provide wrap-around vision. Thermoplastic elastomer flanges on the eyecups ensure a secure, cushioned fit against the face.
The goggles are the product of a two-year development program during which Blue Fuzion Group assessed several materials, including the Beetle compound. “Throughout the prototyping, swim testing, and production trials, the Teknor Apex polyamide consistently ranked as the leading choice,” said Mr. McConnochie. “Teknor Apex engineers worked closely with us in every step of the design and development process, helping us to meet the demanding challenge of achieving exceptional aquadynamics while saving weight.”
Toho Tenax is introducing a high-tensile, highly shock-resistant prepreg that incorporates carbon fibre developed for aerospace applications and carbon nanotubes (CNTs).
NTPT is collaborating with the Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne - Swiss Centre of Technology (EPFL) and other partners to research discontinuous fibre composite tubes for high performance applications.
Hexcel is promoting its range of composite materials for skis, snowboards and other high performance winter sports equipment at ISPO Munich 2018 on 28-31 January.