Why Use Carbon Fiber?

Lightweight

Carbon fiber is 5 times lighter than steel (ASTM-A1008) and almost 2 times lighter than aluminum when comparing similar sized pieces.

High Strength & Stiffness

super strong icon

Carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) has the highest specific strength and modulus (stiffness) per density compared to metal, plastic and wood. (Fig. 1)

Resistance to Corrosion & Chemicals

corrosion resistant icon

The epoxy resin is inert and  not susceptible to corrosion or rust, and the carbon bonds in the fibers are extremely strong and resistant to oxidization.

Low Thermal Expansion

When metal is exposed to heat, it will expand and weaken which can cause issues and possible failure of the part. Carbon fiber has low thermal expansion.

Low Thermal Conductivity

Metal acts as a conductor, steel more than aluminum, which can transmit or radiate heat to its surroundings and cause heat soak. Carbon fiber has low thermal conductivity.

X-ray Transparent

X-rays are able to see through carbon fiber which makes it a good material for enclosures or housings where x-ray imaging may be used.

Fig. 1. Comparison of specific strength and modulus values for CFRP, metal, wood and plastic.

strength and modulus comparison for carbon fiber
G. Design, ”CES EduPack Software—Material Level 2,” 2015

Fig. 2. Global carbon fiber market share by volume demand for different industries, 2016 (%)

Carbon fiber market volume by industry
Grandview Research., 2018

Common Carbon Fiber Applications

Much of the early development for carbon fiber reinforced polymers was done for the United States Air Force who was looking to create "a new generation of stiff, high strength composites for rocket nozzles, missile nose tips and aircraft structures."(acs.org)  As development continued other industries started to take notice. The Aerospace and Defense industry continues to use the most CFRP. While industrial applications, such wind turbines, and the automotive industry are using more and more each year (Fig 2). Sports equipment is another industry that is incorporating CFRP into more and more of their products.

We see carbon fiber expanding into many different industries and products, especially as it becomes more affordable. Below we have listed some application segments where we see carbon fiber as having great potential. We want to help bring carbon fiber to new industries, markets and products by making it more available and affordable, while also doing something good for the environment.

Drones - Carbon fiber is great for the chassis parts and rotor arms whether for racing, recreational or industrial drones.

RC Drone with a carbon fiber frame

Watersports  - Can be used for a wide range of applications from dive fins to kayak accessories and boat instrument panels and trim.

free diving dive fins

Robotics - Carbon fiber is thin, light and strong, which is perfect for robotic parts large and small, whether structural or not. It can also work well for covers or enclosures.

robotic arm

Transportation - Whether you want to save weight or add some style to your car, truck, ATV, motorcycle or scooter, carbon fiber can serve many different purposes.

Carbon fiber license plate frame

Musical Instruments - Carbon fiber has unique tonal qualities and can be used for drum shells or face plates on a Cajon. Or it can add a high tech look, like a pick guard other accents or trim.

Carbon fiber snare drum by Elevated Materials for DW Drums

Office - Carbon fiber looks great as a desk top or a conference table. It can also be used for shelving, storage or desk dividers. Our glossy finish makes for a unique dry-erase board.

Carbon fiber desktop by Elevated Materials