Interested in Carbon Fiber Sheets?
On this site, you’ll learn what carbon fiber sheets are, how they can be used, and where you can get them.
First, let’s talk about what they are and how they are made.
The process all begins with a synthetic organic polymer resin called polyacrylonitrile. This resin is oxidized at 230 degrees to make the flame retardant fiber PANOX, which in turn is carbonized at over 1000 degrees in inert gases until it forms carbon fibers. Only then can the fibers be woven into sheets. At this point, they are still quite flexible. It is only once the sheets are placed into a mold and coated in a stiff resin or plastic that they will harden.
Carbon fiber has interesting properties:
- A very high strength to weight ratio
- High chemical resistance
- Barely reacts to heat.
By adjusting the type of resin or plastic used in the manufacturing process, the potential uses of carbon fiber are nearly limitless.
Applications for Carbon Fiber Sheets
One of the most common carbon fiber applications is in composite materials. It allows the total weight of the composite material to be light, yet does not sacrifice strength or durability in order to do so. This lower weight means better portability in tools and an increase in efficiency for vehicles and other machines.
When used in cars, fuel efficiency soars. Using carbon fiber sheets for cars instead of steel sheets drops the weight up to 60 percent. That reduced weight increases fuel efficiency by up to 30 percent. And fuel efficiency isn’t the only benefit. A lower weight means faster acceleration, which is great for professional racers and people looking to get some extra “oomph!” out of their car. Plus, carbon fiber parts are just as safe as steel parts, so driving in a car made from it isn’t much different than driving a steel one.
An increasing number of tools and sports equipment are being made from them due to durability. Where wood and plastic will break if bent too far, carbon fiber will not. This makes it especially good for golfing (where the club must bend when hitting the ball) and tool handles. You could lean one of these tools at a 45 degree angle to a road and have a car drive over it without breaking it. Wood and plastic don’t survive that kind of punishment. Carbon fiber equipment is much nicer, simply bending, then snapping back into shape.
Cost and Drawbacks
As great as carbon fiber is, there are some down sides. Namely, cost. Even though costs have gone down significantly in recent years, it still costs more overall than other options out there.
And then there’s recycling. Carbon fiber is not easy to recycle. When you do recycle it, the new product isn’t as strong as the old one. It’s not a huge danger to the environment, but it won’t biodegrade.The price of carbon fiber per pound is about $10. This doesn’t sound so bad, until you realize that fiberglass can be found for as cheap as $3 per pound and steel costs only about a quarter per pound after casting.
The good news is that it will become cheaper to make over time. With the rate at which research and technology is expanding, it will be even more affordable in the coming years.
Where to Buy
Wondering where to buy carbon fiber sheets?
You have a few different options depending on what you’re looking for and how much you need. For those who know what they’re doing, wholesale sites like Alibaba will offer you sheets ranging from $2 to $200 per sheet, but only offer you the lower price if you agree to buy hundreds of them. Meanwhile, local retailers will be able to guide you through everything you need to know when it comes to applying the sheets, but will charge you more for them. You can’t go wrong with either.