Carbon Fiber Molding: What You Need To Know

carbon fiber molding

As the years pass by, companies all over continuously seek cost-effective ways to mass-produce their products. One method that has gained tremendous traction with companies is to use composite materials. And one extremely versatile and efficient material used is carbon fiber molding.

If you’ve been searching for a piece of material that is luxurious but low-cost, then keep reading to learn more about carbon fiber molding.

The Basics

Regardless of the steel industry’s influence, a wide range of sectors has adopted carbon fiber. Some of the industries include aerospace, military, sports, medicine, and the auto industry.

Steel and other materials certainly have their use. However, in certain circumstances, carbon fibers remain the superior material.

For example, its lightweight and increased strength improve efficiency in several sectors. Carbon fiber is generally three times lighter and almost five times stronger than steel. This is especially true for the aerospace and automotive industries.

Carbon Fiber Manufacturing

Composite material manufacturing plays a significant role in carbon fiber. The process involves combining two different materials to make the final product durable and much more robust.

Some common examples include the plastic lawn chairs made to look like natural wood. But most people don’t realize that carbon fiber is among some of the most commonly used composites.

This is due to their efficiency, chemical resistance, and tolerance to extreme heat.

Low-Cost Carbon Fiber Molding Processes

Carbon fiber manufacturing has a few main processes to minimize the cost. The first molding process is call bladder molding.

This process is best for companies creating hollow composite parts. The first step is to wrap sheets of fiber saturated with pre-preg resin around an inflatable bladder. The following step is to place the wrapped bladder inside of a closed mold cavity.

Pressure causes the bladder to expand, pushing the sheets against the mold’s interior. Then the sheets solidify once the heat is applied, making the fibers solidify into the shape of the mold.

The second process is compression molding. The process is like bladder molding. It utilizes pressure and heat to manipulate the fibers into the required shape. But instead of using air pressure, it uses the mold surface to create the pressure.

One technique commonly used by manufacturers is the vacuum-bagging method. This involves plastic sheets and a wet layup.

Wet layup is compacting each layer of ply after coating it with resin.

Once debulked, manufacturers place plastic sheets over the wet layup and seal the edges. There’s room left so air hoses can remove any air pockets from between the sheet and layup.

Removing the air pockets is a vital part of creating a solid composite.

Carbon fiber molding benefits vary from quick turnarounds to low labor costs depending on the process.

Parts With Strength and Integrity

While you’ll find carbon fiber used with smartphone cases and bicycles, its uses go beyond decoration. It’s instrumental in creating structurally solid parts like airplane wings and windmill blades.

Carbon fiber molding is the perfect solution in creating a low-cost luxurious material.

Contact our specialists to see how our expertise can help with your next project.

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