Graphite. In crystal chains.
Carbon fibers are thin, only 5-10 micrometers in diameter, and consist of carbon (graphite) atoms bonded in an elongated crystalline formation. The crystals align parallel to the fiber axis, giving the fiber a high strength-to-weight ratio. When bundled together, such fibers form larger filaments. Carbon fiber possesses high modulus, high tensile strength, stiffness, temperature resistance and chemical resistance, along with low weight and low thermal expansion.
Carbon fiber precursors.
Carbon fiber manufacturers use a variety of organic or petroleum polymers such as polyacrylonitrile (PAN), rayon, or petroleum pitch as a precursor material. They employ a variety of chemical and mechanical processes to align the polymer and to isolate the carbon by driving off non-carbon atoms. Once refined, collected and processed into filaments, the carbon fiber is ready for incorporation into a composite material.
Carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP).
To create a composite material, carbon filaments are embedded into or impregnated with a resin, typically a polyepoxide, although other resins may be used. The resultant composite, carbon fiber reinforced polymer (or, alternatively, carbon fiber reinforced plastic), is colloquially known as carbon fiber or simply carbon. For purposes of this website, Advanced Composites will revert to the common usage, carbon fiber, to reference CFRP.
From armaments to architecture.
The versatility, low weight and high strength of carbon fiber make it the ideal material for more commercial, military and industrial applications than perhaps any other substance. Advanced Composites has manufactured specialty carbon fiber components for missile systems, aircraft, artificial limbs, ballistics applications, nuclear submarine propulsion systems, load-bearing architectural assemblies and much, much more. For us, carbon fiber technology, and the uses to which it can be applied, offers an exciting frontier of discovery.