Luis and Clark in Wired MagazineThomas Edison stumbled upon a carbon-fiber precursor while experimenting with lightbulb filaments in 1879. He superheated splinters of bamboo and produced strands of carbon that could withstand high temperatures and conduct electricity. Physicist Roger Bacon expanded on this process in 1958, creating “whiskers” roughly 10 times the tensile strength and more than three times the toughness of steel. Researchers eventually learned how to manufacture these carbon whiskers into a pliable weave, chemically bonding the fibers to substances like plastic to create strong composite materials. read moreā€¦