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One subject that comes up on forums regularly is "drive belts". Those who have been using OPE for awhile, know that all belts are not created equal. One of the man-made fibers that has been proven to increase the lifespan of drive belts is Kevlar. Kevlar is so strong and so lightweight that is also used for "body armor", as in bullet-resistant vests worn by military and police. I just got a bulletin today that shows mankind's ongoing search for things that are better. Here it is.


Will Super-tough Nanofiber Replace Kevlar?

Seeking to create a new generation of super tough fibers, researchers at Northwestern University have come up with a fiber so strong it could knock out the reigning champ, Kevlar. Taking tiny carbon nanotubes and adding a polymer via a CVD (chemical vapor deposition) reactor binds them together. The team then spun the resulting material together into yarns, creating a fiber that is remarkably tough, strong, and failure-resistant. The new fiber is initially aimed at defense and aerospace applications, including bulletproof vests, composite materials, and parachutes. The researchers hope to make the fiber stronger by refining the interactions between carbon nanotube bundles.

Learn more about nanomaterials and nanotechnology products…


Once the initial target applications have been satisfied, the cost to produce this new fiber will likely come down dramatically and if this pans out the way they think it will, we may be seeing drive belts that are constructed from this yet-unnamed fiber. Amazing.
 

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^ Interesting, might take some time before the price drops to OPE levels. Plenty of people balk at the price of a good O.E. belt now. False economy IMO.

In the meantime I wonder why you don`t see more use of "cogged" ( not "toothed") belts for drive applications. The theory is better heat dissapation, therefore longer life.
There are also "wedge" V-belts said to offer the ability to deliver more hp in with less mass.
Lastly they combine the two and offer " cogged wedge" belts.

I guess all of the above is academic, as I have always gotten multiple seasons out of an ordinary O.E. v-belt. Best example is 15 yrs on my 8hp walk-behind snowblower, I have a spare set in stock, but the originals still look/work great.
 

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tanandorange said:
Tom, I wonder if this new technology will allow for "lifetime" timing belts, or use in CVT drive systems. Interesting.
An interesting thought, but keep in mind that even the best roller or Hyvo steel chains have an expected service life when used in the applications you mention.
 

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99flhr said:
An interesting thought, but keep in mind that even the best roller or Hyvo steel chains have an expected service life when used in the applications you mention.
Yes, but on a silent chain, link pin wear usually limits usefull life, on a roller chain the bushings are the limiting factor. Rarely does a link fail in either design. This new technology eliminates the use of pins and bushings and has the potential for being as strong as the links themselves.
PS-if you don't mind my asking, what part of NE Ohio are you from?
 
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