Just when you're wondering which frontier the bicycle industry will push open next, SWISS bicycle maker BMC produced the world's first carbon nanotube (CNT) bike, a material that is now considered the strongest and stiffest material on the planet (..and I thought it was Boron Tri-Nitride) in terms of tensile strength and Young's modulus (elasticity). To improve toughness, the tubing is made in a proprietary process by adding a mixture of fine carbon nanotubes to the carbon-resin matrix. All the specific manufacturing related stuff is anyone's guess.
If this bike were to be tested for strength to weight ratio, the figure would destroy the scales.
Throughout, we avoid using the traditional carbon optic. Using only carefully aligned unidirectional fibers makes for even more accurately defined rigidity distribution.
The Carbon Nano Tube Composite developed by Easton achieves unprecedented material values by the admixture of microscopically small carbon tubes.
Integrated Skeleton Concept permits good force distribution near the nodal points by using carefully selected reinforcing elements. Each tube transition can be perfectly adapted to the flow of forces.
You can recognize them from the dropouts. Pro Machine frame with seamlessly integrated carbon dropouts. The only metal component on the whole frame is the thread on the bottom bracket.
The material was developed for frame tubing by the bicycle division of Easton Sports.
Carbon Nanotubes are a highly specialized area of material science research and people in the industry are just beginning to discover the properties and applications of the material.
The discovery of nanotubes remains a contentious issue, especially because several scientists involved in the research could be likely candidates for the Nobel Prize [Wikipedia].
A strand of CNT under a scanning electron microscope [Source]
How CNT Will Make A Difference [Easton]
For what people are saying about this material and considering the huge costs in producing it, I expect it to diminish and virtually eliminate all those catastrophic carbon failures we've been seeing around us for a while now. That much will be good, since I'm nervous about showing the UCI a sub 15 pound bike. I don't want to mess around with them. Too much bike related fatigue to deal with already...
Sigh...until some sensible dynamic test results come out, we're going to be stuck with ridiculously priced bicycles or complete show material.