Woven Carbon Fiber: An Evolution of Practical Applications

Strong, light, and stiff, woven carbon fiber has been used within manufacturing for many years. Woven carbon fiber comprises carbon fiber forerunners such as rayon and polyacrylonitrile (PAN) chemically heated, treated, stretched, and carbonized. Therefore, creating high-strength fibers that are popular with engineers and designers within the manufacturing world.

Let’s examine this substance in more detail…

The Making of Carbon Fiber

Made of durable and thin crystalline carbon filaments that, when woven together like yarn, gain strength. Then, yarn is woven together to form cloth that can be laid over a mold and coated in resin or plastic.

Carbon fiber rates according to how many carbon filaments they have, for example, 3k, 6k, 12k, and 15k. The most common weaves are plain weave, harness satin, and twill. Other less common weaves are fish weave, unidirectional weave, braids, and custom weaves.

The Advantages of Carbon Fiber

Other than strength, the advantages of carbon fiber are that it’s stiff, low weight to strength ratio has high tensile strength, resistant to high temperature and chemicals, and has a low thermal expansion. Because of these combined properties, it is popular in manufacturing industries.

Also, carbon fiber can boost the fuel economy of today’s cars because it takes less energy to accelerate a lighter vehicle than a heavy one. If a manufacturer reduces a car’s weight by 10%, this can translate to an up to 8% increase in fuel economy.

Carbon Fiber Industries

The military aerospace industry first used such carbon fibers because of their low weight, temperature resistance, strength, and rigidity. Due to the high strength to weight ratio, they have also historically been used to manufacture structural vehicle components. This includes trunks, hoods, trunk spoilers, and front lip spoilers.

Carbon Fiber in Recent Times

In more recent decades, the manufacturing industry, and in particular, the automotive, transportation, recreation, and civilian aircraft industries, have caught on to the many advantageous properties of carbon fiber. Its unique combination of strength and lightness makes it ideal for mass manufacturing.

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Taking car manufacturing as an example, woven carbon fiber has long been used by F1 for more than 30 years and in supercar manufacturing. The MP4/1 was the first F1 car to have a carbon fiber chassis.

Today, mainstream car manufacturers such as Audi, Toyota, Ford, and Audi are using woven carbon fiber in manufacturing. Specifically to reduce weight and mass, replacing steel parts with carbon fiber composites. Examples of common woven carbon fiber uses are fenders, deck lids, hoods as well as chassis.

Ready to Use Woven Carbon Fiber?

SMI Composites provides woven carbon fiber materials suitable for any significant industrial and manufacturing need. Woven carbon fiber is just one of the many substances we manufacture. Contact us today if you have any questions and want to receive a quote from us.

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