Carbon Fiber Technology

Hits: UpdateTime:2012-3-26 15:33:41

Carbon Fibre vs Aluminium and steel
Carbon fibre tubes can be shown to have advantages over both aluminium and steel tubes in almost every aspect. In short, any application that needs strength or low weight can benefit from the use of Carbon Fibre. The table below highlights some of the main properties of carbon fibre, aluminium, and steel.
This is the technique used to make the Carbon Fibre tubes that we supply. It is a male-moulding process which means that material is laid up around a mandrel. The material is pre-pregnated with resin so the exact ratio of fibre/resin is guaranteed. Material is added in layers (Carbon, glass, Kevlar, or combinations of) and can be added with fibres in varying directions to achieve the required structural properties and physical dimensions. Once the material is correctly laid up a heat-shrink wrap is applied to the tube and it is placed in an oven for the resin to cure. The heat-shrink wrap contracts and the pressure on the tube helps cure the resin and ensure that it is evenly distributed throughout the tube.
Machine wound
This is where the carbon fibre is wound round a mandrel by machine in either tape form or single fibres. This technique is good for larger batch productions but has one main disadvantage. Using this method it is only possible to get the direction of the fibre to within 5° of 0. That is to say it is not possible to get the fibres running along the length of the tube, which is necessary for the tube to have optimal strength in tension and compression. With the roll-wrapping technique used for our tubes any direction of fibres is allowable, and this means that strength for strength our tubes are lighter than those manufactured using this machine wound technique.
This process of creating carbon fibre tubes works by pulling carbon fibres through a die. This production technique is optimal for mass produced tubes but can only create tubes with all the fibres running in the same direction along the length of the tube. This is fine for tubes that will only be in compression or tension, but in reality there are usually a number of forces acting on the tube. These tubes have little strength in other directions.
Why our product is a superior tube
The strength of the tube comes from the carbon fibres themselves, and the resin is used solely to hold the fibres in place. Excess resin in the tube simply serves to increase the weight of the tube, and reduce its strength. Using pre-preg cloth ensures that the exact amount of resin/carbon can be used to maximise the quality of the product.
Using pre-preg material allows for great precision when it comes to the amount of carbon and resin that is used for each tube. The pressure oven curing process and the heat-shrink wrapping ensure that all the resin is squeezed out uniformly over the whole tube allowing for excellent repeatability and a flawless tube.
Customisable designs for specific applications
Perhaps the biggest advantage of the manufacturing process used to produce our tubes is the ability to customise tubes for specific mechanical requirements. The fibres can be laid to run in multiple directions within the tube in varying ratios allowing you to customise the tube's structural properties. Also the quantities of carbon, glass, or Kevlar within the tube can be specified to obtain the perfect offset of weight, strength, cost and so on. In summary our tubes can be made to exhibit the perfect properties required for the application
Tubes can be supplied with a range of tapers, something which can not be achieved with pulltrusion manufacturing processes.

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