You probably have seen a couple of those videos showing smartphones being obliterated by a hydraulic press. Although enjoyable to watch, those clips don’t really have a scientific value, since you wouldn’t expect a device made from plastic and/or metal to resist under the immense pressure. The folks from Hydraulic Press Channel over on YouTube have released a similar video with an ultra-strong hydraulic press, but this time around it has an educational value, too.
Nobody questions the advantages carbon fiber brings over conventional steels in a car’s body. It’s both very light and exceptionally strong, a perfect combo for a car. That’s why we see it in high-performance models (and in the BMW i3) since it offers multiple advantages, with only one downside: manufacturing costs, but that’s a story for another day.
The attached video shows that carbon fiber although remarkably strong, it will bend if brute force will be applied in certain directions it was not designed to cope with. In other words, the rigid composite material is very durable, but only under certain circumstances, as perfectly demonstrated in the attached video.
On a related note, researchers at Georgia Tech have discovered a way to recycle carbon fiber by using an alcohol-based solvent to rescue some of the fibers that normally would have headed to the trash can. They soaked carbon fiber in the solvent, managing to separate the carbon fiber from the epoxy holding everything together. Doing so enables the possibility of reusing both the carbon fiber and epoxy.