Definitive Overviews of Carbon Fiber – Explanation of the Basic Characteristics of Carbon Fiber

In this modern-day, Carbon fiber is widely used in various applications due to its excellent properties. It has lightweight and has high strength. In the 1970s, it was used for sports equipment such as golf club shafts, tennis rackets, and fishing rods, but since the 1990s, it has expanded to transport equipment such as aircraft and automobiles. It is now turned into one of the most effective equipment in this technological era due to advances in science.

Besides, you can obtain products with different characteristics depending on the raw materials, manufacturing method, and conditions, such as roll wrapped prepreg carbon fiber tube that is used to build a robotic hand, agricultural product, telescopic poles, and so on.   

Indeed, Carbon fiber equipment has the great advantage of being hard to burn for improving mechanical performance, slid-ability, conductivity, and a heat resistance of resins. That’s why the carbon fiber equipment demand like carbon fiber round tube is day by day increasing for aerospace applications, sports applications, and industrial applications that require weight reduction and high performance.

What is carbon fiber?

 Carbon fiber is a fiber made almost completely of carbon. It is a “fibrous carbon substance with a fine graphite crystal structure” made by fiberizing organic substances such as acrylic resin, petroleum, and coal, which are familiar as raw materials for clothing, and then undergo a unique heat-treatment process.

Indeed, the carbon content is 90% or more for carbon fibers with a standard elastic modulus and almost 100% for carbon fibers with a high elastic modulus. The main element other than carbon is nitrogen. Carbon fiber is made by steaming organic fiber such as polyacrylonitrile (PAN) fiber or pitch fiber in an inert atmosphere to desorb elements other than carbon. More than 90% of the carbon fibers on the market are PAN-based carbon fibers made from PAN fibers because the balance between performance, cost, and ease of use are superior to that of pitch-based carbon fibers.

What are the features of carbon fiber?

As mentioned above that, the fundamental characteristic of carbon fiber is that it is light and robust. It has a specific gravity of around 1.8, which is about 1/4 of iron 7.8, and is significantly lighter than aluminum 2.7 or glass fiber 2.5. Thereby Carbon fiber is rarely used alone and is usually used as a reinforcement and functionality-imparting material for composite materials.

On top of that, it has excellent strength and elastic modulus. The specific strength of tensile strength divided by specific gravity is about 10 times that of iron. The specific elastic modulus of tensile elastic modulus divided by specific gravity is about 7 times that of iron. Even it has excellent heat resistance, electrical conductivity, chemical reaction resistance, low coefficient of thermal expansion, and self-lubricating property of carbon. It also has other characteristics of mechanical strength (high specific strength, high specific elastic modulus).

Difference between Carbon fiber and metal material:

As explained above, the properties and rigidity of carbon fiver vary greatly depending on the material used and the molding method. Besides, joining and bonding are used for joining between members, and it is difficult to use the welding method that is generally used for metal materials. 

In other words, carbon fiver has many design items that are different from metals, such as anisotropy, lamination, and adhesion, due to its material characteristics, so it is necessary to significantly change the way of thinking about design. Especially for composite materials, since it combines base material and reinforcing fibers, the physical properties may change if the shape or molding method is changed. 

In other words, it is crucial to consider the molding method as well as the structure. In order to promote product design, it is necessary to consider the manufacturing method in parallel and incorporate it into the design.

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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