Carbon fiber is a new type of fiber material with high strength and with a carbon content of more than 95%. It is a microcrystalline graphite material obtained by piling up organic fibers such as flake graphite microcrystals along the fiber axial direction, and then undergoing carbonization and graphitization treatments. Carbon fiber is a new material with excellent mechanical properties. Its specific gravity is less than 1/4 of that of steel. The tensile strength of carbon fiber resin composites is generally above 3500Mpa, which is 7-9 times that of steel. The tensile modulus of elasticity is 23000 to 43000Mpa, also higher than steel.

Performance of carbon fiber composite materials
Different from other FRP composite materials that use traditional fibers, such as glass fibers or aramid fibers, carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) composite materials have excellent properties, which include:

Light weight: Traditional glass fiber reinforced composite materials use continuous glass fibers whose content is 70% (weight glass/total weight), and the density per cubic inch is usually 0.065 pounds.

High strength: Although light in weight, compared to glass fiber composite material, CFRP composite material per unit weight has higher strength and greater hardness. When compared with metal materials, this advantage is even more prominent. For example, compared to steel, CFRP material weighs only 1/5 of steel under equal strength conditions. This is why all automobile manufacturers are studying the use of carbon fiber instead of steel to improve the performance of their products.

Application of carbon fiber composite materials
Carbon fiber composite materials have begun to find use in various industries, including the transportation field (such as aircraft, high-speed railways and automobiles) and the energy field (such as wind turbine blades), and a large part of carbon fibers are used in sports equipment industries (such as golf clubs, fishing rods and other sports products). Of course, as cars with less lightweight are now favored by the automotive industry, carbon fiber materials are increasingly used in the automotive field. As we all know, new energy vehicles have entered a stage of rapid development, but consumers are still worried about how long pure electric vehicles can drive. In order to more effectively improve the driving range of pure electric vehicles, the lightweight of the car body is required. Among the new energy vehicles, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are known as truly zero-emission environmentally friendly vehicles, but a major problem of this type of vehicle is the safety of hydrogen. In this regard, carbon fiber materials can also play a key role. According to new researches, carbon fiber materials can be used in the high-pressure gas storage tanks, which are used to store hydrogen, so as to better ensure the safety of the gas storage tanks.

Why are carbon fiber composite materials favored by the car industry?
Carbon fiber has found wide use in the manufacturing of car frames, seats, cabin covers, drive shafts, rearview mirrors, etc. The merit goes to their advantages as below:

Lightweight: As mentioned above, the current electric vehicles are limited by battery technology and have a short cruising range, which has become a bottleneck restricting their development. This problem can be solved by using lighter materials. Carbon fiber composite materials are 3/4 lighter than steel and 1/3 lighter than aluminum, which enables a longer cruising range and more energy saving.

Comfort: The soft stretch performance of carbon fiber can improve the noise and vibration control of the vehicle, which will greatly enhance the comfort of the car.

Reliability: Carbon fiber has higher fatigue strength and good collision energy absorption. It can reduce the weight of the vehicle while maintaining strength and safety, and thus diminishing the safety risk factor brought by lightweight.

Enhanced Vehicle Lifespan: Some parts of automobiles need to be corrosion-resistant, and have to pass the test of high temperature, low cold, and smoke. Common metal parts cannot guarantee the vehicle lifespan in different environments. Under such circumstance, carbon fiber materials are best choices as they do not have corrosion and rust problems, which will surely enhances the lifespan of auto parts.

Author's Bio: 

The charm of nanomaterials has been gradually recognized worldwide. Alfa Chemistry Materials is a trust-worthy supplier of carbon fibers and many other types of carbon nanotubes such as carbon nanotube dispersion, aligned multi-walled carbon nanotubes, amino modified MWCNTs, double-walled carbon nanotubes, helical carbon nanotubes, flash-ignited MWCNTs, and fluorinated carbon nanotubes.