Why Use Carbon Fiber
Carbon fiber (also commonly called graphite) has unique properties making it ideal for applications ranging from aerospace to automobiles, to sporting goods. When combined with resin to form a composite, it produces parts that are incredibly light and rigid. Carbon parts are lighter and stronger than their metal counterparts. For that reason, carbon fiber is being used extensively in the race car industry. High-end vehicles are incorporating carbon to make one piece car frames. Perhaps the biggest user of carbon fiber is the aircraft industry, both commercial and military. Here are the biggest users of carbon fiber.
The first is the military.
Since carbon is up to 100 times lighter than some metals, it is ideal for aircraft. The F-22 Raptor has over 350 carbon/epoxy parts. Nearly 1/3 of the Joint Strike Fighter Plane will be made of carbon and fiberglass.
The Airbus Superjumbo A 380 and A350 are built with a great deal of carbon fiber. The recent release of A 380 is enormous. Note the double row of windows along the whole length of the plane. It will hold over 500 passengers and has a wingspan more significant than the length of a football field!
The second big buyer of carbon is the Airbus company.
They are making the 787 Dreamliner. It is 50% carbon fiber and is so light that it will be able to fly from England to Australia without refueling.
The third buyer is Boeing.
Besides its superior performance characteristics, carbon is also used for its cosmetic beauty. When used with clear resin, it has a beautiful, almost three-dimensional holographic appearance. When other fiber reinforcements are often hidden with paint or gel coat, carbon fiber is intentionally made visible because of its high-tech look.
If carbon fiber is outside your budget, consider using S-2 glass. S-2 glass is a high performance fabric that was developed originally for military applications. It is 30% stronger and 15% stiffer than E-glass. It comes 30” wide in two weights: 3.7 oz. and 5.6oz. One of the big advantages of S-2 glass is that it is compatible with both polyester and epoxy resins, unlike carbon. At a fraction of the cost of carbon, this might be the solution you are looking for! Give it a try.