If you are looking to manufacture a product that utilizes carbon fiber, you likely already know that it is an incredibly strong and durable material. It can be used in a wide range of applications and is desirable for its combination of being strong and lightweight. But what else should you know about carbon fiber and how can you know if it is the ideal material for your project?

At Spartec Composites, we have more than 40 years of experience and have worked with many high-profile clients to complete major projects around the world. We are here to answer your questions about carbon fiber and help you with every stage of your project taking you from design through to execution with composite fabrication and engineering services. See some of the most asked questions about carbon fiber below or contact us to discuss your composite manufacturing project.

What is Carbon Fiber Made From?

Carbon fiber is generally made from polyacrylonitrile (PAN) and either rayon or petroleum pitch. PAN makes up the majority of the material at around 90% where rayon or petroleum pitch accounts for the remaining 10% of the material. The materials that make up carbon fiber are organic polymers.

Is Carbon Fiber Fireproof?

Carbon fiber can be manufactured in a variety of ways to match the unique demands of the product it is being used for. Though not all carbon fiber is fireproof, some carbon fiber materials are manufactured to be fire retardants. This means that chemicals are added to the material to have the material be self-extinguishing or be less likely to catch fire in the first place.

Is Carbon Fiber Strong?

One of the main features of carbon fiber is that it is incredibly strong while also being lightweight. Carbon fiber can be up to ten times stronger than steel and eight times stronger than aluminum. When you need an exceptionally strong material without the weight associated with natural metals, carbon fiber is a great choice.

Though carbon fiber is exceptionally strong, it is not indestructible. Also, remember that not all carbon fibers are created equally. When considering how strong carbon fiber is, you must take into consideration how it was manufactured. Not all carbon fiber is made to be as strong as others and how strong your carbon fiber will be will depend on the unique needs of your project and your specifications.

Is Carbon Fiber Waterproof?

If you need a material that is weather-resistant and waterproof, carbon fiber might be a top choice. Carbon fiber is waterproof and resistant to weather when treated to be so. It is suitable for products that need to be mould resistant and easy to clean and disinfect.

How Light is Carbon Fiber?

Carbon fiber is exceptionally lightweight and for this reason, can be used in a wide range of applications. Some of the most well-known uses for carbon fiber are hockey sticks, tennis rackets, and other sports equipment. Carbon fiber is also used in aerospace manufacturing and construction. In comparison to other materials, carbon fiber cannot be beaten. It is approximately 1.5x lighter than aluminum which is also considered to be a lightweight yet strong material.

What Can Carbon Fiber Be Used For?

There are endless uses for carbon fiber materials, and it is suitable for a wide range of applications across many industries. Some of the top industries where carbon fiber is used include the defence, automotive, aerospace, medical and sporting industries.

You might be familiar with carbon fiber materials without even knowing it. The interior and exterior components of vehicles often utilize carbon fiber for its durability and strength while being aerodynamic. For more information on the uses for carbon fiber and examples of how carbon fiber can be used, check out our previous article What is Carbon Fiber and What Can We Use It For?

Is Fiberglass the Same as Carbon Fiber?

Fiberglass and carbon fiber are similar materials but are not the same. There are times where fiberglass may be a more appropriate choice for your project than carbon fiber. Fiberglass may be more flexible than carbon fiber and is also less expensive than most carbon fiber materials. Fiberglass can be a fantastic choice for your project and is strong and lightweight just like carbon fiber.

Consider reaching out to a company that provides composite engineering to help you determine if carbon fiber or fiberglass is better suited to your needs.

Is Fiberglass Stronger Than Aluminum?

Aluminum is stronger and more durable than fiberglass. It should also be noted that fiberglass is heavier than aluminum. If you are trying to determine if aluminum or fiberglass is better suited for your project, you may wish to consider a carbon fiber material instead. As carbon fiber is lightweight and strong it may be your ideal material if it also aligns with your budgetary needs.

Is Carbon Fiber Stronger Than Steel?

You may be surprised to learn that carbon fiber is stronger than steel. Though steel is an exceptionally strong material, it cannot be matched against the strongest carbon fiber materials. In addition to being stronger than steel, carbon fiber is also much lighter and able to be used in more applications than would ever be possible with steel. For more information on the strength of carbon fiber check out our previous article, Is Carbon Fiber Stronger Than Steel?

Can Carbon Fiber Be Custom Fabricated?

One of the most exciting things to know about carbon fiber is that it is not limited to only one type of material. As carbon fiber is a composite material, it can be engineered to suit a wide range of applications and meet the demands of its intended use precisely. Carbon fiber is used to make many different products in a wide range of industries.

To learn more about how carbon fiber or other composite materials such as fiberglass can make your product better, contact us today. Spartec Composites offers full-service, in-house engineering and manufacturing for your products and will take your project from start to finish.