If you are looking to have a product manufactured with a composite material, it is more than likely that you will have come across both fiberglass and carbon fiber as options. Though carbon fiber and fiberglass sound similar, these two materials have unique properties and benefits that can make them more or less desirable depending on the intended use. When you are looking into choosing a composite material for your project you’re going to want to know, what is the difference between fiberglass and carbon fiber to ensure you choose the best material possible.
At Spartec Composites, we have specialized in the design and manufacturing of carbon fiber, fiberglass, and other composite materials for more than 40 years. In this post, we will help you to understand the differences between carbon fiber and fiberglass to help you determine which composite material is best for your project.
Have questions about composite manufacturing? Contact us today to learn about how we can take your project from an idea to a finished product, all in-house.
How is Carbon Fiber Different from Fiberglass?
When looking into composite material options many look to carbon fiber or fiberglass for their versatility and strength. Most want to know, is carbon fiber stronger than fiberglass? Though there are other considerations to keep in mind when choosing which is best for you.
Carbon fiber and fiberglass are both composite materials, the main difference between the two is that fiberglass is comprised of melted strands of glass while carbon fiber is made from strands of carbon atoms. Both are strong and lightweight materials that can be ideal for a wide range of applications across many different industries, however, carbon fiber is stronger, lighter, and more expensive to produce. Sometimes fiberglass will be a preferred material for commercial uses as it will meet performance requirements while also being less expensive.
See our previous post, Common Questions about Carbon Fiber for more answers to some of the most common questions our clients have surrounding carbon fiber manufacturing.
How Much Lighter is Carbon Fiber than Fiberglass?
Fiberglass is a lightweight material making it ideal for many applications. However, an even lighter, and sometimes a stronger, material is required for complex and high-performing products. When lightness is key, carbon fiber is an ideal choice. Carbon fiber can be up to 15% lighter than fiberglass materials making it the material of choice for automotive, aerospace and defence applications that have specific performance requirements.
How Much Stronger is Carbon Fiber than Fiberglass?
Both fiberglass and carbon fiber are strong materials, so strong in fact, that both are stronger than steel. When strength is important to your project, high-quality carbon fiber takes the lead as it can be more than 20% stronger than the toughest fiberglass materials.
Though carbon fiber is both lighter and stronger than fiberglass, it is not always the right choice for your project. Carbon fiber is expensive to produce and is not always suitable when budgets are a factor. Working with an experienced composites manufacturer that offers composite engineering is your best bet in understanding which type of material is right for your needs. Contact the experts at Spartec Composites to learn more about composite material options and how to make your project come to life.