Carbon Fiber

Carbon fiber — by far the most widely used fiber in high-performance applications — is produced from a variety of precursors, including polyacrylonitrile (PAN), rayon and pitch. The precursor fibers are heated and stretched to create the high-strength fibers. The first high-performance carbon fibers on the market were made from rayon precursor. PAN- and pitch-based fiber have replaced rayon-based fiber in most applications, but the latter’s “dogbone” cross-section often makes it the fiber of choice for carbon/carbon (C/C) composites. PAN-based carbon fibers are the most versatile and widely used. They offer an amazing range of properties, including excellent strength — to 1,000 ksi — and high stiffness. Pitch fibers, made from petroleum or coal tar pitches, have high to extremely high stiffness and low to negative axial CTE. Their CTE properties are especially useful in spacecraft applications that require thermal management, such as electronic instrumentation housings. Although they are stronger than glass or aramid fibers, carbon fibers are not only less impact-resistant but also can experience galvanic corrosion in contact with metal. Fabricators overcome the latter problem by using a barrier material or veil ply — often fiberglass/epoxy — during laminate layup.

Drones: Unpiloted composite vehicles head out to sea

Although the term drone for the most part has been synonymous with machines built to fly, sailboat drones designed and built by Saildrone (Alameda, CA, US) are poised to replace for expensive (and manned) research ships and stationary buoy systems that now gather marine data.

How is tow spread?

ITA characterizes tow spreading processes and parameters as it develops new technology to speed production (100 m/min) and reduce width variation (<1mm).
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Solvay launches high-performance carbon fiber tape for offshore oil and gas applications

Evolite F1050 is a market first high-performance thermoplastic composite with continuous carbon fiber reinforcement for demanding offshore oil and gas applications.