Carbon Fiber

by kaizons
Last updated 6 years ago

Discipline:
Science
Subject:
Chemistry
Grade:
8

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Carbon Fiber

You can get carbon fiber wheels.

To a carbon fiber string bike.

The high potential strength of carbon fiber was realized in 1963 in a process developed by W. Watt, L. N. Phillips, and W. Johnson at the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough, Hampshire. The process was patented by the UK Ministry of Defence then licensed by the National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) to three British companies: Rolls-Royce, already making carbon fiber; Morganite; and Courtaulds. They were able to establish industrial carbon fiber production facilities within a few years, and Rolls-Royce took advantage of the new material's properties to break into the American market with its RB-211 aero-engine. Unfortunately, Rolls-Royce pushed the state-of-the-art too far, too quickly, in using carbon fiber in the engine's compressor blades, which proved vulnerable to damage from bird impact. What seemed a great British technological triumph in 1968 quickly became a disaster as Rolls-Royce's ambitious schedule for the RB-211 was endangered. Indeed, Rolls-Royce's problems became so great that the company was eventually nationalized by the British government in 1971 and the carbon-fiber production plant was sold off to form "Bristol Composites".

Carbon Fiber

What is Carbon Fiber?

And this is a layout of carbon fiber wire/string.

Carbon fiber is a material consisting mainly of fibers 5-10 um in diameter is composed mostly of carbonatoms. The carbonatoms are bonded together in crystals that are more or less alligned parrell to the long axis of the fiber. The alligned crystals give the fiber a high strength-to-volume ratio (making it stronger per size). Several thousand carbon fibers are bundled together to form a tow, which can be used by its self or woven into fabric. Roger Bacon was the first to invent/make carbon fiber at the Union Carbide Parma Technical Center, now GrafTech International Holdings, located outside of Cleveland, Ohio. Those fibers were manufactured by heating strands of rayon until they carbonized. This process proved to be inefficient, as the resulting fibers contained only about 20% carbon and had low strength and stiffness properties. In the early 1960s, a process was developed by Dr. Akio Shindo at Agency of Industrial Science and Technology of Japan, using polyacrylonitrile (PAN) as a raw material. This had produced a carbon fiber that contained about 55% carbon.

How it's used for cars

Given the limited market for a very expensive product of variable quality, Morganite also decided that carbon-fiber production was peripheral to its core business, leaving Courtaulds as the only big UK manufacturer.The company continued making carbon fiber, developing two main markets: aerospace and sports equipment. The speed of production and the quality of the product were improved.


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