Carbon fiber is a potent combo of strength and low weight. These properties have made this the material of choice when it comes to going fast. Whether it is the body of a Formula 1 car, the chassis of your Ferrari, or the components of an airplane, carbon fiber is all around us. But how much do you know about it? To help you out here are a few fun facts that you can use to school your friends!
5. Carbon Fiber is used for more than cars and planes.
Although it is my dream to have a McLaren P1 sitting in my garage, I don’t think that will be happening anytime soon. Lucky for all of us, a slew of companies have worked to satisfy our carbon fiber cravings. All it takes is a quick Google search and you can find everything from a carbon fiber toilet seat to an indestructible flask. Although some of these are nothing more than novelties, there are many applications where carbon fiber is proving to be the ideal material for the application and designers are beginning to take notice. At Common Fibers, we feel that we are approaching the golden years of composite materials and are excited to be a part of the journey.
4. Carbon Fiber comes in a variety of patterns.
Most likely the carbon fiber that you have seen is a 2×2 twill weave. This checkered like pattern has good molding properties and thus is used in a variety of aerospace and automotive applications. However, with the increase of carbon fiber consumer products, companies have began to develop some wild patterns. Below you can see some of the weaves that we offer on our Common Fibers’ wallets.
3. Carbon Fiber can be flexible.
Although it is far less common, there are resins that allow for the material to stay in a non-rigid shape. This can be very useful in applications that require movement. Another breakthrough in the industry, is actually removing the resin from a section of the material to allow for parts to bend. This was created by my co-founders at Common Fibers, and has been titled the CF-Lex™ technology. This is preferred over soft carbon fiber, as you can control which areas have the ability to flex. Additionally, it enables you to have a single piece of carbon with rigid and flexible sections.
2. Carbon Fiber is made from two different materials.
You may have heard carbon fiber referred to as a “composite.” This is because carbon fiber is made from two different materials, that when combined, create a single material with the benefits of both constituents. In the case of carbon fiber, the fibers are the reinforcement and resin is the matrix. The fibers are woven together and serve as the backbone of the material, and the resin is applied later holding the weave together and creating a solid, and often rigid, sheet. Due to the variety of resins, carbon fiber can be tailored to fit many applications.
1. Carbon Fiber is not a new idea.
Carbon fiber was originally invented in 1958 near Cleveland, Ohio. The original concept was used in insulation, filtration, and lighting applications. Years later, a company called Union Carbide developed a carbonized cloth that they presented to the U.S. Air Force as a replacement for fiberglass. Although the mechanical properties of these early materials fell short, Union Carbide realized the material’s potential and later perfected the process that creates carbon fiber as we know it today.
Myles Bradwell is the co-founder at Common Fibers a company that specializes in slick carbon fiber wallets.