When designing frames for premium bicycles, engineers must take into account a large number of characteristics,including strength, stiffness, weight, durability, ease of manufacture, type of bike and rider preference. Frames can be constructed from metals such as steel, aluminum or titanium, or they can be made of composite materials that are based on carbon fiber. Traditionally, use of conventional simulation in the bike industry has been limited to the metallic materials. However, scientists at the Institute for Lightweight Structures (IST) at Germany’s Chemnitz University of Technology used engineering simulation to successfully identify the stresses for a carbon-fiber-reinforced mountain bike frame for GHOST Bikes GmbH - builders of premium bikes of all classes and categories. The research team used ANSYS Composite PrepPost software to analyze potential failure within the complex lightweight structure.
Carbon-fiber–reinforced polymer (CFRP) is an increasingly popular material for mountain bikes due to its lightweight characteristics and ease of manufacturability. In addition, fibers can be oriented to better withstand loads and provide weight-efficient parts with high stiffness that will increase the overall stiffness of the frame - a desirable characteristic. To optimize the use of materials and to determine fiber orientation, complex calculations and numerical simulation methods are required. Conventional composite simulation programs usually require additional work to define fiber orientations and plies. Composite PrepPost software, integrated within the ANSYS Workbench environment, takes advantage of outstanding features and solver technologies from ANSYS. This technology substantially simplifies analysis of CFRP structures using innovative modeling and analysis capabilities.
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