Why does our carbon look different?
One of the first items that you notice about the new WT range is the carbon fiber does not look like the woven style that is seen by every other brand.
So why is this?
At WT we want to make sure that your paddle lasts as long as possible, and has the very best performance, durability and strength characteristics. To do this, we use custom materials developed by our parent company C12 Technology.
C12 is a leading R&D company looking into new advanced materials and production processes to create innovative high-tech products. One of the items they focus on most is reducing stress across the material which reduces the chance of cracking.
Carbon fiber is a woven product (just like any textile material) made up of strands of carbon that pass over and under each other. Every time a fiber crosses over or under another a high stress point is generated. As the paddle blade is loaded, these high stress areas can cause micro cracking in the layup of the blade that over time results in failure.
Have you ever seen a blade snap across the tip or through the center? This is why, we call this process of failure, fatigue failure. “If you image two people pulling on each end of a rope with a knot in the center, the stress is going to be highest where the knot is. This is what happens in woven material when it is loaded, each fiber interaction or crossing works like a knot. Thousands of small knots across the entire face of the paddle” – Technical Director, C12 Technology.
So how do we solve this issue? We remove the knots. Our material is non-woven and instead we stack the carbon fibers on top of each other, layer by layer. This also allows us to orientate the fibers where the highest loads are – down the length of the paddle. We are no longer constrained to having fibers run perpendicular to each other.
“By removing the woven material and replacing it for a non-woven you have removed the knot from the rope. Now, in our example, when the two individuals pull on each end of the rope there is a uniform stress across the entire rope without peaks where a knot would be”
What else? Is it just the non-woven material that creates paddle strength? No.. there's more to it that that! In addition to forces and loads in the paddle blade from regular paddling we must consider impact. Each time a blade is hit, on a rock going down a river or even just loading it into the back of a car, there is potential for damage.