Sun 27-Jan-13 01:33 PM | edited Sun 27-Jan-13 01:35 PM by J_Harris
Nope, never seen a shattered carbon fiber tripod leg, hence using one myself, a Gitzo 3542LS . I have not watched a "Formula 1 race" for any extended period of time, so I have no idea if a carbon fiber car body shatters when impacted during a crash or collision, but I would expect it has been known to at least occasionally.
After the obligatory Internet search for Carbon Fiber tripod failures, none can be found. However, there does appear to be great debate in the carbon fiber bicycle community. A good statement about carbon fiber durability versus steel from a bike Carbon fiber "fork" manufacture probably sums it up nicely;
"There are two failure modes that could cause a fork to fail, fatigue or impact. Questions about life span are really questions about fatigue life. How many cycles can a fork survive before it is tired and worn-out? The good news is the fatigue life of carbon fiber is immensely more than that of metals. While the writer expresses concern about his carbon fork lasting as long as a metal component, there is nothing to worry about in terms of fatigue life on a composite fork.
The most likely cause of failure for a composite fork would be impact damage sustained from crashing. Most of the time any damage to a fork from a crash will be visible. Cracks can be seen. We would recommend that the fork be periodically inspected visually at the drop out area and along the fork legs to look for cracks or depressions in the material. Any fork that shows signs of cracking should not be ridden and replaced immediately.
In general terms, a component made from carbon fiber will far out-last a component made from metal."