Carbon fiber is an excellent material for many uses, including building materials, aircraft, and medical implants. This article will explain carbon fiber’s properties and benefits over steel and aluminum. Despite its high price, carbon fiber is definitely worth the money. Read on to learn more about its unique properties and uses. You’ll also discover how carbon fiber compares with these materials and why it’s becoming so popular. You’ll be surprised how versatile carbon fiber is!
Cost Of Carbon Fiber
The cost of carbon fiber for automotive use varies widely. Most carbon fibers are manufactured from a thermoplastic material called polyacrylonitrile (PAN). The carbon atoms are aligned and spun into strands during the carbonization process. The PAN strands are then heated at high temperatures to remove non-carbon particles. Carbon fiber filaments can also be produced using other materials, including resins and alloys.
Carbon fiber has numerous advantages for automobile applications. It is a lightweight material that improves fuel efficiency without adding weight. BMW is a prominent manufacturer of carbon fiber-based vehicles and aims to reduce the material cost by 90 percent. According to Klaus Drechsler, head of MAI Carbon Cluster Management, the company has reached halfway to reducing carbon fiber costs by 90 percent. Even though researchers aren’t sure how they can accomplish this, lower prices will almost certainly lead to increased use of carbon fiber in automobiles.
Carbon fiber was once so expensive that it cost $150 per pound, but prices are now significantly lower. The total cost of production for carbon fiber with “standard modulus” (a narrow range of stiffness) is $7-9 per pound. As the cost of carbon fiber production continues to drop, it is likely to remain a niche material until the price is lower and the material supply is sufficient to support large-scale programs. Achieving this goal will require a reduction in raw materials and equipment costs, but the overall price of carbon fiber manufacturing will be significantly lower in the future.
Carbon Fiber’s Unique Properties
One of the essential aspects of carbon fiber is its strength. It is composed of bonded carbon atoms, making the material extremely strong, stiff, and lightweight. As a result, the material is used to make composite parts, including airplane wings, automobile body panels, and even some jewelry. Composite parts made of carbon fiber have properties similar to steel and plastic but with a much higher stiffness-to-weight ratio. In addition, as mentioned in Plastic Materials – quality carbon fiber & composite materials, carbon fiber is one of the most robust materials on the planet!
The mechanical properties of carbon fiber depend on the graphite layers’ arrangement within the material, controlled by the pyrolysis process. Standard carbon fibers have a tensile strength of 4MPa and a 230GPa tensile modulus. Higher elastic moduli can be achieved through further processing, but the intermediate modulus is most commonly used for increased strength and stiffness applications.
Carbon Fiber’s Uses
Carbon fiber is most prevalent in aerospace and is used for airplane and helicopter components, among its many applications. This material is more robust and lighter than steel and has revolutionized the aerospace and space industries. It is now used for everything from small parts to entire airframe structures. This makes it an excellent choice for both military and commercial vehicles. But what exactly are the uses of carbon fiber? Here are just a few of them. But, of course, there are many other uses too.
While many polymers have been tested as possible precursor materials for carbon fiber, lignin has proved to be one of the most promising candidates for this application. High-purity organosolv lignin can be spun directly into precursor fibers. PE is also a good precursor material, with an approximate 75% carbon yield and a suitable strength of 2.5 GPa. The next step is process optimization. Further research is required to shorten the stabilization time and to examine the effect of heat stretching on the process.
Carbon Fiber’s Advantages Over Aluminum & Steel
In terms of strength, carbon fiber has an edge over steel and aluminum. Its specific tensile strength and stiffness are 3.8 times higher than aluminum. Additionally, they differ in terms of thermal expansion. Carbon fiber exhibits less thermal expansion than aluminum, making it easier to work with and more durable. In terms of cost, aluminum is less expensive, but carbon fiber is a better choice for structural applications.
In terms of weight, carbon fiber is lighter than metal. This is especially true for products that require directional strength. Carbon fiber does not have equal power in all directions, and the order of the weave determines how thick the fabric should be. This feature reduces the weight of carbon fiber components. Finally, carbon fiber is easier to work with CNC machines and manual tools. For this reason, carbon fiber is used for many structural applications.