Carbon fibers or carbon fibres (alternatively CF, graphite fiber or graphite fibre) are fibers about 5 to 10 micrometers (0.00020–0.00039 in) in diameter and composed mostly of carbon atoms.
Carbon fiber is made of thin, strong crystalline filaments of carbon that is used to strengthen material. Carbon fiber can be thinner than a strand of human hair and gets its strength when twisted together like yarn. Then it can be woven together to form cloth and if needed to take a permanent shape, carbon fiber can be laid over a mold and coated in resin or plastic.
Carbon fibers have several advantages: high stiffness, high tensile strength, high strength to weight ratio, high chemical resistance, high-temperature tolerance, and low thermal expansion.
On top of being strong, carbon fiber:
- Is high in stiffness
- Is high in tensile strength
- Has a low weight to strength ratio
- Is high in chemical resistance
- Is temperature tolerant to excessive heat
- Has low thermal expansion
Because of this, carbon fiber is very popular in many industries such as aerospace, automotive, military, and recreational applications.
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