Carbon Fibre Composites: Discover the wonder material

Carbon Fibre, Woven, prepreg, towpreg,

Carbon fibre is an exciting material with many variations and applications. Carbon fibre can normally be purchased in one of three forms: continuous, woven, and chopped. Continuous filament carbon fibre is the type of carbon fibre that SageZander can supply. Essentially, continuous filament carbon fibre is the carbon fibre yarn that can be processed in many ways. Continuous filament carbon fibre is often woven into a fabric, which can be purchased already woven, or you can weave it yourself

Woven carbon fibre fabrics can be impregnated with polymer resins in order to produce a very stiff and lightweight material.Carbon fibre can also be “chopped”, which is a form of carbon fibre made from short and broken fibres that can be placed in a random pattern, meaning that when it is impregnated with resin, the strength of the composite material is in all directions, as opposed to woven carbon fibre composite, whose fibres are normally only laid in two directions. When processed, this is sometimes called forged carbon.

Resin Impregnation

In order for carbon fibres to be of much use, they need to be able held together. For this reason, carbon fibres use polymer resins to encapsulate the fibres, producing a material called a carbon composite, or a carbon fibre reinforced polymer. The final use for the carbon fibre product dictates much of what happens upstream in the production process, including how the carbon fibre is prepared. There are various methods for impregnating the carbon fibre with the polymer resin. Some common types are prepreg, injection, towpreg, and pultrusion. 

You can also read more about resin impregnation processes here and here.

Resin Types

Two types of resins are used in carbon fibre composite manufacturing. By far the most common resin type is a thermoset resin, which once cured cannot be re-heated and re-shaped. This is the industry standard type. The second type, thermoplastic resin, is garnering more interest as it can be reheated and remoulded. This means that thermoplastic carbon fibre composites can be more easily recycled, resulting in a more environmentally friendly product.

Carbon Fibre Sizing

The sizing on a carbon fibre filament is a coating placed onto the individual fibres that allows the fibres to be processed in different ways. Carbon fibre sizings generally prevent the individual carbon fibre filaments from fraying during handling and allows the specific resin material to fully impregnate the carbon fibre. Different sizings can, for example, produce wildly different amounts of dust when the filaments are being processed. Each sizing is specific to the manufacturer, so the properties of the sizing and carbon fibre differ with each carbon fibre brand sold.

If you’re interested in carbon fibre for your process please call us on +44 (0)1260 295264 or email sales@sagezander.com. You can read more about the carbon fibre products that we can provide here.