Dornier Museum: The dawn of the carbon age

CFK-Rohre

Dornier Museum: The dawn of the carbon age

Friedrichhafen | 24.09.2013

The special exhibition “Into the future with carbon fiber” was opened at the Dornier Museum Friedrichshafen. The show is intended to present all aspects of the revolutionary material CFRP (carbon fibre reinforced plastic) with 75 attractive exhibits ranging from carbon fabric to Formula 1 racing cars.

“Pioneering spirit is the basic idea of the Dornier Museum”, said Cornelius Dornier, speaking on behalf of the museum’s sponsor, the Dornier Foundation for Aerospace. “It holds everything together: Pioneering spirit has always been passed on, both in the family and in the Dornier company, and this exhibition fulfils this claim 100 percent:

Peter D. Dornier, CEO of Lindauer Dornier GmbH, talked about the historical development: “100 years ago, all aircraft were made of ‘fibre composite’, i.e. the composite material wood and textile fabric. More than 90 years ago, my grandfather, Claude Dornier, decided to replace the well-known materials with aluminium, which was more expensive and heavier at that time.

Then, 40 years ago, came the return to fabric – no longer made of textiles, but of carbon: In 1973, the “Alpha-Jet” from Dassault/Dornier was the first high-performance aircraft with structural components made of carbon fiber composite material – today, all newer aircraft, from the NH 90 and Tiger helicopters to the Airbus A380, consist of 50 to 80 percent of their structure made of fabric, namely carbon fiber”.

Today, according to Dornier, more than 90 percent of all carbon fibre fabrics produced worldwide are made on weaving machines made by the Lindau-based company. The wide range of applications, from the aerospace sector to automotive, sports and leisure, medical technology and industry, as well as construction, are represented in this exhibition. It is intended to stimulate the development of further applications for this revolutionary material.

Among other things, CFRP components from the aerospace sector, automotive applications from Formula 1 racing cars to series production components such as doors, boot lids and hybrid brake discs and the BMW i3 will be on display. A Ducati “Superbike R” with numerous carbon components and a dry weight of 165 kg will be on display alongside a CFRP helmet and a racing suit with carbon protectors on the knees, elbows and shoulders for current applications in the motorbike sector. A complete CFRP bicycle weighing only 6 kg, a bicycle frame and the CFRP pedal crank are current products for bikers; in addition, three manufacturing stages of a CFRP bicycle rim are demonstrated.

A CFRP violin shows the use of this revolutionary material in music – with acknowledged good sound. Medical technology is not to be missed with a CFRP couch for computer tomographs and the CFRP leg prosthesis of a racing cyclist. Other applications from the construction industry and other sectors as well as various base materials complement the exhibits.

Theme days and symposia form the supporting programme of the exhibition. A special themed tour and a more in-depth standard tour also convey the diversity of carbon as a material to visitors – not only to adults, but also to young people. After all, the Dornier Museum’s goal in conveying knowledge is to convey a pioneering spirit and enthusiasm for technology to children and young people.

The special exhibition was opened on September 2, 2013 and can be seen until June 22, 2014.

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