Carbon Fiber is one of the most revolutionary materials in the global industry. It is allowing manufacturers to achieve the required strength and flexibility while not compromising the quality. It is very lightweight, which makes it a good material to add for the manufacturing of goods and parts. From the aviation industry to making car carbon fiber parts and golf swings, carbon fiber is used in almost every industry. But there are many things that most people are unaware of. So, here in this blog, we bring to you some cool things that you didn’t know about carbon fiber.
Things to Know about Carbon Fiber
It’s Not Pure Carbon
Many people have this myth in their minds that carbon fiber is 100% carbon, which is not true at all. A carbon fiber sheet is made using a group of various materials. Its characteristics quickly change when resin or polymer gets added for reinforcement. It is a blend of composite material, which is made from different elements. The reason for using a blend is that carbon itself is quite brittle and prone to cracking and splitting while being remarkably stiff. The presence of polymer and epoxy makes it easier to work with.
Its Stiffness Can be Manipulated
Do you think that in its final composite state carbon fiber is very stiff? Another thing that many people believe about carbon fiber veneers is that it is very stiff and cannot be made even flexible. If you also feel the same then you are wrong as its stiffness can be controlled.
According to professionals, fibers are strong in one direction. It is using a mix of certain carbon fibers. The stiffness of the carbon fiber sheet can be controlled quite precisely. A good thing about it is that carbon fiber can become flexible by as much as 88% when the temperature is increased. And it will automatically recover to its original state when the heat is removed. So we can say that carbon fiber sheets can achieve the desired shape with the help of some heat.
There is Even “Wet” Carbon Fiber Cloth
A good thing about carbon fiber is that its cloth is available in two forms, commonly known as wet prepreg cloth and dry prepreg cloth.
Wet carbon fiber cloth is used to make automotive products such as front lip spoilers or rear diffusers. Whereas the dry cloth is made using resin that comes with ‘dry’ properties when it is infused into the cloth. So we can say that both the dry and wet carbon fiber cloths are the same, with a difference in the type of resin being used. Another difference is that dry cloth is costlier than wet cloth because of the manufacturing process as well as the more advanced resins used.
It’s Secret to Increased Stiffness
If you are working in an industry where carbon fiver sheets or carbon fiber veneers are used regularly, then you would be familiar with UD carbon fiber fabrics.
UD stands for unidirectional. As the name suggests, it is a type of material that has all the filaments laying in parallel in one direction. That means there is no crossing or weaving over each other. One thing to know about UD is that it is different from other woven fabrics. And it has a different appearance and different mechanical properties.
It’s Older Than You Thought
Many people think that carbon fiber parts started to appear in the past few years. Hence it is relatively new material. But the fact is that the history of carbon fiber dates back to the 1860s when it was created by Joseph Swan and used in light bulbs. Later in 1958, Roger Bacon created high-performance carbon fibers at the Union Carbide Parma Technical Center.
Its potential was not known until it was used in the manufacturing process at a British research center. After this experiment, carbon fiber started to make its way to almost every industry like aviation, automobile, sports, and more. Thanks to UD reinforcement. It is now possible to create incredibly strong, light carbon fiber parts in the modern days.
Carbon Manufacturing is Complicated and Costly
Ever wondered why not every industry is using this material for making all types of products and parts while it is such an amazing one? Well, the reason for this is that the manufacturing process of carbon fiber products or parts is that it is quite complex and costly. This is the reason that not every industry can afford it. Even if everyone starts working with carbon fiber, manufactured products are going to be priced quite much higher than your imagination.
For example, if you buy a boke part at USD 10, it can be priced at around USD 30 or 40 if it is made using carbon fiber, which is a huge difference.
Most Raw Carbon Comes from Asia
An interesting fact about Carbon Fiber is that its materials are very hard to find. There are only a few companies across the world that have the technical capabilities to manufacture the raw carbon fiber itself. As per a report on the carbon fiber market (by the US Department of Energy), there are six companies that offer over 90% carbon fiber supply. And they are; Toho Tenax, Mitsubishi Rayon, Zoltek, Hexcel, and Cytec.
As well all know that the first three companies (Toho Tenax, Mitsubishi Rayon, Zoltek) are located in Asia. They ensure nearly two-thirds of the global carbon fiber production. The other three are located in, taking up less than one-third of the world’s carbon fiber production.
The list of amazing facts know about carbon fiber could go on. Carbon Fiber sheets are used globally for the manufacturing of various types of products. And carbon fiber parts for almost every industry present today.