If you have heard of carbon fiber before, you may know that it is a durable and strong material that can be used in a large variety of ways. From the wings of an aircraft to a bike frame, there is so much that carbon fiber can do. But what exactly is carbon fiber, and what is carbon fiber made of? As a man made material, carbon fiber can seem a bit confusing. We are here to help make sense of what carbon fiber is and why it could be valuable to you and your business.
In this article, we will outline what carbon fiber is, what it is made of and the many ways in which it can be used. Carbon fiber might just be the perfect material to use in your next project. Learn more about why carbon fiber is such a versatile and powerful material and contact Spartec Composites to discuss your product and manufacturing needs.
What Is Carbon Fiber?
Carbon fiber is a manmade material that can be used in a nearly endless number of ways. Almost anything that you wish to create can be made with carbon fiber. From something as simple as a cup or as complicated and important as the wings of an aircraft, carbon fire has many uses. The appeal of carbon fiber is that it is simultaneously strong and lightweight. It can be used in circumstances where the strength of a metal is needed but the weight of it is not. The versatility and performance of carbon fiber makes it a desirable material and a first choice for many manufacturing projects.
What Is Carbon fiber Made Of?
Carbon fiber is by heating and stretching a high carbon polymer. But where does carbon fiber come from? Though there are many different materials that the original carbon polymer can originate from, in many cases the carbon polymer will be a Polyacrylonitrile (PAN) or Pitch-based carbon fiber.
PAN carbon fibers are synthetic materials that derive from acrylics while pitch-based carbon fibers are produced through carbon-based materials such as plants, coal, and crude oil. The originating material used to make carbon fiber can play a role in the carbon fiber’s strength and flexibility.
How Do You Make Carbon Fiber?
Carbon fiber is made by high-temperature heating and stretching of a high carbon polymer such as a Polyacrylonitrile to create carbon filaments. The purity of carbon fiber can vary, and a purer product can be produced by using higher temperatures and repeating the initial process. The stiffness of the carbon fiber produced is classified into different groups and uses for each stiffness level will vary. Once a carbon fiber filament has been created, these individual filaments are then bundled. It is most common for three thousand individual filaments to be bundled together to create a carbon fiber material.
What Can I Make with Carbon Fiber?
When it comes to carbon fiber, the possibilities are endless. For almost anything that you can use metal for, you can also use carbon fiber. As carbon fiber is both strong and lightweight there are many everyday items that it is ideal for as well as many industrial level uses.
Some common sporting goods that can be made with carbon fiber include:
- Bike frames
- Hockey sticks
- Tennis rackets
- Fishing rods
- Formula 1
- High-end vehicles
- Interior and exterior components
Carbon fiber can be used for an extensive amount of uses in almost any industry. Though the costs associated with using carbon fiber make it less desirable for some industries, it is a material that is continually being improved upon in order to reduce costs and improve efficiencies. Despite the costs, carbon fiber is a durable and lightweight material that will meet any performance need.
Is Carbon Fiber More Expensive Than Metals?
Carbon fibers strength is often compared to that of steel. But unfortunately, the price of carbon fiber is not. Though there have been many improvements made in the manufacturing of carbon fibers, the cost of carbon fiber is more expensive than metals such as steel or aluminum. Though it is expensive, this does not negate its importance due to the many benefits of carbon fiber materials.
Carbon fiber is much lighter and stronger than metals such as steel and aluminum. Thus, it can be used in a wide range of scenarios that these metals cannot. A product that uses carbon fiber will be valuable due to its strength and lightness and generally cannot be compared to metal as it will outperform it. Due to its expense, carbon fiber is not ideal for uses such as replacing items such as aluminum food cans on a mass scale, but it is ideal for high-performance uses such as in the manufacturing of aircraft.
Why Should I Choose Carbon Fiber for My Project?
If you are looking to have a product manufactured but are not sure if it is the right choice for your needs, it may be best to contact an expert in composite manufacturing or composite engineering. There are many options available to you when considering using a composite material in the manufacturing of your product, some options may be better suited for your needs and budget than others.
If you are looking to design a prototype, complete laser cutting or need 3D printing services, the experts at Spartec Composites can help. With over 40 years of experience with carbon fiber fabrication and all other composites, we have the knowledge and experience to make your product come to life. We have worked with high-profile clients across a wide range of industries and are trusted partners in the manufacturing of composite goods. From the design of your product to the execution, we complete all aspects of your project in house.
Contact us today to discuss your needs and let us help you find the ideal composite material to suit your needs. From carbon fiber to metallic fabrication, we have the expertise to make your high-quality item come to life.