|Quoting Remcor (Reply 16):|
Whoa... whoa whoa... let's just slow down a second.
Does anyone here ever watch Formula 1? Great stuff, most advanced cars in the world with complete carbon-fiber chassis. Now has anyone ever watched one crash? They do send carbon fiber splinters everywhere and they do shatter.
The last time I watched a crash (Kubica in Montreal, fantastic crash) I wondered about the same thing regarding the 787/A350. I don't think it's something that isn't worth discussing.
Granted, the F1 cars are still very safe with their carbon fiber chassis, and granted an airplane with a company as huge as Boeing behind it is going to go to great lengths to ensure its safety, but I think there can be no doubt that the nature of a 787/A350 crash would be a lot different than a crash of a metal plane.
I think your answer is in your own account of Kubica's crash:
1) Kubica was racing within two weeks after that crash. If that car had been aluminum, he would not have survived.
2) The pieces that splinter and fall off in an F1 and Indy car are DESIGNED to disintegrate. These pieces disperse kinetic energy from the main survival cell to lessen impact loads, but the survival cell stays intact at speeds in approaching 150 miles per hour.
Obviously, the fear/allegation is unfounded. One of the failure modes is splintering, like you see on lighweight NON-STRUCTURAL elements of the race car such as wings. For ultimate impact resistance, however Carbon Fiber has proven to be far and away the safest material. Formula one and Indy drivers used to have a fatalities of at least once if not several times a year. Since the advent of carbon fiber tubs, fatalities for cars going faster are now like once in 10 years at most.