John Barresi

Carbon brittle in extreme cold?

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General belief in my early years of flying was that carbon spars can become brittle in extreme cold conditions and while it's a given that carbon can become brittle if it's cold enough, I was wondering if any of you folks might have some personal kite experience on the subject?

I have only flown in below freezing conditions a couple of times, -10c on a B-Series full vent with a 3 wrap frame and around 28f on a B-Series STD with Black Race frame... I didn't have any issues, but older Rev rods are notoriously tough.

Whaddya know? :)

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Several years ago I was flying at least weekly in winter conditions here in the mountains of Virginia.  I was just beginning to enter the world of modern high performance stunt kites including both dualies & Revs.  My enthusiasm was high & I was not worried about being cautious or conservative in regards to preserving my kites.  In other words I was a newbie out there flailing away & breaking expensive kites.  Only broke one old stock four wrap Rev 1 tube but I lost count of the SkyShark tubes that were offered up for sacrifice.

My father had spend his most of his career as a reinforced plastics composite engineer in the aerospace industry.  He knew a bit about carbon fiber reinforced plastics to say the least.  I had to show him some of my splintered tubes inquiring about the possibility that cold weather may not be friendly to the life of these kite parts.  He said that if the composites were correctly designed & manufactured to withstand  the expected loads in normal weather conditions that a little cold weather would not be an issue whatsoever.  He suggested that I not abuse them so much impacting the ground or overloading them in high wind gusts.  One day when I was showing him how I could fly a Rev he said, :"Isn't the point to see how high you can fly it?"  I really miss him.


Don't break em so much anymore.....

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My observation is no. At least with how cold it gets here. I really don't fly in temperatures less than 20* F, because it really doesn't get much colder than that. I would say that I've spent a few hundred (or more...) hours flying all different kites in the winter, which is kite season where I fly, at least for me. I've only had one winter break in the recent past, which was totally due to an unplanned water landing, I would say the cold had nothing to do with it.




*edit... notice the kites above are Fearless Tattoo SSUL, Skyburner ProDancer & Rev 1.5 with Black Race. Skinny sticks... no issue with breaking.

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Well the answer is yes and no. Cold doesn't bother the carbon fiber at all, however the matrix (epoxy) used to hold it together could be a different matter. Some epoxies become brittle at low temperatures. Carbon fiber gets it's strength from the very small diameter of the fibers (more fibers more strength, or less weight). In fact we have to consider carbon rods as wear items as every time they flex some of these fibers break.

Sent from my SM-G920W8 using KiteLife mobile app

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Peanut brittle I can get into; Carbon brittle just does nothing for me.

Sorry, the devil made me do it. :lol::rolleyes:

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