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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000047.txt from 1994/05

From: Chris Hill <Chris_Hill@-----.ORG>
Subj: Re: Clarinet Materials
Date: Tue, 3 May 1994 09:53:13 -0400

The "graphite" clarinet postulated in recent communications must surely be
thought of as a graphite fiber/epoxy resin or carbon fiber/epoxy resin
composite material, or some closely related composite. The stiffness of
such structures can be quite finely tailored, depending on fiber content,
the precise nature of the resin used, and other factors, so it should be
possible to vary the acoustic properties, which depend sharply on
stiffness, of a clarinet fabricated from them.

Of course, plastic clarinets have been made for a long time, but I don't
know whether aerospace composites have been tried. As in aerospace
applications, however, the Achilles Heel of composites is usually in
attaching fasteners and in weak places caused by drilling holes in them.
Since a clarinet is a rat's nest of holes, both open and tapped for
attachment screws, a composite horn might be very susceptible to cracking
and to delamination of the material owing to water absorption.

I'd be interested to know if anyone knows of experience with composite
clarinet construction.

As to my colleague Steven Popper's cast aluminum-titanium clarinet, my
hunch is that making them of sheet metals in the old fashioned way (as we
make all brass instruments and the much-maligned metal clarinet) will
remain both cheaper and more effective than near net shape casting.

Chris Hill
(Originator of the notion forwarded by Don Leeson that Goodman's theme was
"Memories of You." My apologies for any embarrassment experienced by
Leeson, whose erudite musings on this net often make my day.)

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