What is carbon fiber? What are the uses of carbon fiber?
Carbon fiber vs. steel is almost always the question. Which one is better? More flexible? More cost-efficient? We all know that steel is cheaper than carbon fiber, but carbon fiber is so much lighter than steel and aluminum but is stronger than steel. Carbon fibers are cost-efficient, high strength but low weight, and are electrical conductors that makes them one of the most corrosive and heat resistant materials available for commercial and industrial use.
How can you use carbon fiber? Here’s a quick summary.
Automotive industry – used commonly for the exterior part of cars like the hood, spoilers or bumpers to structural components such as the electric vehicles’ battery storage and actual unit as well as the passenger cell(for select cars).
Wind Energy – most of the wind turbines across the nation have pultruded blades that helps keep the blades strong and sturdy but light-weight.
Energy Storage – Zoltek’s cost-efficient carbon fiber carbonized felts and fabrics are being used by the Redox Flow Battery (RFB) manufacturers for electrodes, and the Runaway Thermal Barrier (RTB) which is used by PHEVs (Plug-in, Hybrid, Electric Vehicles) as the cover of the battery storage for cars. We are able to supply these manufacturers with cost-efficient carbon fiber fabrics and felts.
At Zoltek, we also process pultruded profiles which carbon fiber tows are impregnated and cured, creates smooth carbon fiber laminates resulting in efficient laydown when building thickness. The specific fiber alignment achieved with pultrusion delivers consistently better overall properties in laminates than any other composite manufacturing process. Depending on the end application, these pultruded profiles are typically produced with a thermoset epoxy or vinyl ester resin in a proprietary low-cost, high-throughput process – which creates an almost indestructible product that is commonly used for wind turbines, offshore drilling, mining, and other structural reinforcement applications.
Truth be told, it’s nearly impossible to postulate all of the potential uses of carbon fiber, but after over 20 years of working and innovating alongside ZOLTEK™ customers, we’ve seen a lot of excellent examples; many of which are documented and sorted here to help guide you towards leveraging carbon fiber’s high-performance properties for your own unique solution.
Here are some helpful tips on where you and the rest of our customers use our cost-efficient carbon fiber materials.