Carbon fibers or carbon fibres (alternatively CF, graphite fiber or graphite fibre) are fibers about 5–10 micrometres in diameter and composed mostly of carbon atoms.To produce a carbon fiber, the carbon atoms are bonded together in crystals that are more or less aligned parallel to the long axis of the fiber as the crystal alignment gives the fiber high strength-to-volume ratio (making it strong for its size). Several thousand carbon fibers are bundled together to form a tow, which may be used by itself or woven into a fabric.
Carbon fiber material has a wide range of applications, as it can be formed at various densities in limitless shapes and sizes. Carbon fiber is often shaped into tubing, fabric, and cloth, and can be custom-formed into any number of composite parts and pieces.
Carbon fiber reinforced polymer, carbon fiber reinforced plastic or carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic (CFRP, CRP, CFRTP or often simply carbon fiber, or even carbon), is an extremely strong and light fiber-reinforced plastic which contains carbon fibers. CFRPs can be expensive to produce but are commonly used wherever high strength-to-weight ratio and rigidity are required, such as aerospace, automotive, civil engineering, sports goods and an increasing number of other consumer and technical applications.
Graphite composites have exceptional mechanical properties which are unequalled by other materials. The material is strong, stiff, and lightweight. Graphite composite is the material of choice for applications where lightweight & superior performance is paramount, such as components for spacecrafts, fighter aircrafts, and race cars.
Composite materials are made by combining reinforcement (fiber) with matrix (resin), and this combination of the fiber and matrix provide characteristics superior to either of the materials alone. In a composite material, the fiber carry majority of the load, and is the major contributor in the material properties. The resin helps to transfer load between fibers, prevents the fibers from buckling, and binds the materials together.
Graphite fibers (sometimes called carbon fibers) are made from organic polymer such as polyacrylonitrile.
· Graphite and carbon fibers are extensively used in high‐strength, high‐modulus applications.
– Graphite fibers have carbon content in excess of 99%.
– Carbon fibers have carbon content in the range 80‐95%
· Fiber’s carbon content depends on processing method for these fibers.
· Significantly more expensive than glass fibers.
· Key application areas include aerospace, sporting, railway, infrastructure, automotive, oil drilling, as well as consumer sector industries.
· Graphite structure consists of hexagonally packed carbon atoms in layers, and several such layers are interconnected through weak van der Waals forces. Thus, such a structure structure generates:
– High inplane modulus
– Significantly less modulus in out‐plane direction
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