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What is carbon fiber?

blog carbon carbonfiber what is carbon fiber

Carbon fiber is a material that is a composition of millions of carbon atoms that are bonded together to form a long carbon chain. The fiber has many remarkable properties like extreme stiffness, strength, and lightweight that makes it perfect for manufacturing several products. The carbon fiber is actually available in a variety of raw material that includes:

  • Yarns
  • Unidirectional
  • Braids
  • Weaves
  • Much more

    These are then utilized in different ways to make the real useable form of carbon fiber. To make the fiber even more refined you will come across many subcategories in the materials already present.

    When a different type of carbon fiber is manufactured for a different type of raw material, there will be several differences in the composite material including its features and the final product. When the composite is manufactured the carbon fibers needs to be placed in a stable matrix so that it can perfectly reside to maintain its shape because this material is stiff in compression and tension and thus it is hard to stabilize.

    For the manufacturing of the carbon fiber reside matrix used is mostly the epoxy resins. They are excellent for this job because of their strong compressive and shear properties. The low density of the epoxy makes it possible to manufacture a product that is strong despite being light in weight.

    When the composite part of the carbon fiber is manufactured following are some of the processes through which it undergoes:

    • Wet layup
    • Vacuum bagging
    • Matched tooling
    • Resin transfer
    • Insert molding
    • Pultrusion

      To introduce a special property in the carbon fiber a special resin is utilized.

      Mechanical characteristic of carbon fiber

      Following are some of the mechanical properties that you will find in the carbon fiber:

      • The modulus of elasticity of carbon fiber is 20 msi
      • The ultimate tensile strength is 500 ksi

        Thus it is a proof that the strongest type of carbon fiber is five times stronger than steel.


        Properties of carbon fiber

        Carbon fiber is providing its users with the following amazing properties:


        The Young’s Modulus of a material helps to determine its rigidity. It helps to estimate that how much of a stress a material can withstand. The rigidity of carbon fiber is:

        • 4 times more than glass
        • 5 times more than aluminum
        • 20 times more than pine

          Corrosion resistant and chemical stability:

          The high-quality of carbon fiber makes it resistant to corrosion. However, the resins utilized for its stability might need to be protected against sunlight. This is the reason that the carbon fiber composites are manufactured with the UV resistant resins to makes them more chemically stable and corrosion resistant.

          Electric conductivity:

          Carbon fiber is electrically conductive but you have to make sure that it is carefully installed otherwise it might be the cause of galvanic corrosion.

          Fatigue resistance:

          The fatigue resistance of the carbon fibers is good. However, you have to keep in mind that when the stress cycles of the fiber will increase with age it will cause in the reduction of its stiffness that might lead to damage of the tensile fatigue.

          The carbon fiber is manufactured with such technology that these problems will not occur soon.

          Fire resistance:

          The carbon fiber is mostly coated with nickel to make it non-flammable. This is a unique quality and thus the coat of carbon fiber is done on many products just to protect them from a fire in the areas where the chances of occurrence of fire are many.

          Thermal conductivity:

          There is specific thermal conductivity for the carbon fiber. The reason behind it is that the types of carbon fiber are manufactured with separate features and thus some have been specially prepared with low thermal conductivity and some with high.

          Thermal expansion:

          Carbon fiber has a low coefficient of thermal expansion and thus they are ideal to be utilized in such products where critical movements are required. This is the reason that carbon fiber is mostly used in the telescope and optical machinery.

          Medical properties:

          Carbon fiber has properties like x-ray permeability and biologically inert. This is the reason that it has a wide range of medical uses like:

          • Prosthesis
          • Tendon repair
          • Implants
          • X-ray accessories
          • Surgical instruments


            The covalent bonds in the carbon fiber make them strong yet brittle. Thus, they cannot bend much.

            Pros of carbon fiber:

            Following are some of the advantages that you can enjoy by having the carbon fiber products:

            • They are the advanced materials that can be used where high strength to weight is required
            • They are perfect for the high stiffness products
            • Carbon fiber can be used for the manufacturing of aerospace, military equipment, sports equipment, robotics and many other things
            • They are also perfect for providing high toughness when they are combined with other materials.
            • The product made with carbon fiber has a unique and smooth finish

              Cons of carbon fiber:

              With such great advantages here are some of the drawbacks of this amazing product:

              • Their yield is not good
              • They will not stay permanently deformed
              • Carbon fiber will fail catastrophically
              • High skills and special tools are required for the production of carbon fiber products
              • They are expensive than the other materials

                Carbon fiber vs. metals

                The properties of carbon fiber are near to that of steel and the weight is near to that of plastic. Consequently, the quality to weight proportion of a carbon fiber part is much higher than either steel or plastic. The particular subtle elements rely on upon the matter of development of the part and the application.

                Thus with all such benefits and amazing properties, the time will soon come when everything will be manufactured with carbon fiber. Therefore, instead of investing in other metals it will be a better choice to buy the durable carbon fiber products.  

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