Things You Didn't Know About Carbon Fiber
Things You Didn't Know About Carbon Fiber

Things You Didn’t Know About Carbon Fiber

October 26, 2020
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Carbon Fiber is a name that every automobile enthusiast is familiar with. It has been gaining immense popularity among supercar manufacturers, majorly because of one reason and that is weight saving. Not only in motorsports or automobile industry, but this material has also gained popularity in aerospace, civil engineering, and defense too. Let us know more about Carbon Fiber.

How carbon fiber is made ?

Keeping the manufacturing process short, it consists of a few steps. The materials selected for making carbon fiber are usually organic polymers and rayon/petroleum pitch. The raw material used is called the precursor. The composition always varies from manufacturer to manufacturer and also the purpose. It includes steps like polymerization, spinning, stabilizing, carbonizing, and rinsing.

When was carbon fiber invented ?

Carbon fiber was first invented near Cleveland, Ohio, in 1958. It wasn’t until a new manufacturing process was developed at a British research center in 1963 that carbon fiber’s strength potential was realized.]

Is carbon fiber conductive?

Carbon fiber is not used alone but rather mixed with reinforcing materials such as epoxy resin, metal, and ceramics. Most carbon fiber products have electrical conductivity. Carbon fiber also generates electricity in a magnetic field, which is a property of electrical conductors.” 

Manufacturing

Keeping the manufacturing process short, it consists of a few steps. The materials selected for making carbon fiber are usually organic polymers and rayon/petroleum pitch. The raw material used is called the precursor. The composition always varies from manufacturer to manufacturer and also the purpose. It includes steps like polymerization, spinning, stabilizing, carbonizing, and rinsing.

Properties:

There are some properties that have made carbon fiber so popular and because of which it has found its way to supercars and aircraft etc.

  • Rigidity: Rigidity is the measure of how much a material deflects under stress. Carbon fiber is very rigid. Comparing with aluminum, carbon fiber is 2.5 times more rigid.
  • Tensile strength: Tensile strength is the maximum stress that a material can withstand while being stretched or pulled before failing. Carbon fiber has a very good tensile strength and just for comparison, its tensile strength is 3.8 times more than aluminum.
  • Strength to Weight ratio: Carbon fiber has a high strength to weight ratio or specific strength. It is one of the very important reasons why it has become such a good replacement for other light metals and materials.
  • Lightweight: Carbon fiber is very light in weight as compared to aluminum or steel which makes it so tempting for the supercar manufacturers as they want to save as much weight possible so that their product can go faster and become more agile.

There are also some more properties like corrosion-resistant, chemical stability, fire-resistant, and low coefficient of thermal expansion that favor this material. 

So, combining all of the above-mentioned properties, you get a product or a material that has so many benefits that it won’t be wrong if we call it ‘the material of future’. Today, carbon fiber is being used making aircraft bodies, structures and is used in defense equipment. Talking about sports cars and supercars, carbon fiber is now being used as a part of chassis, it is used to make the whole body of a car and it is used as interior materials for doors and seats. One of the recent examples is Mclaren 765LT where it is over 80kg lighter than its predecessor, 720s, and all thanks to the extensive use of carbon fiber.

Although it has exceptional advantages, they all come at a premium price. It is a relatively expensive material. If you damage any carbon fiber part, it’s definitely going to cost you a lot as it usually demands the full replacement of that particular part. But, carbon fiber has an aura and reputation which makes consumers willing to pay more for the cachet of having it.

Cheers!

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