There are several benefits of lightweight carbon fiber electronics enclosures. The primary reason our customers look to carbon fiber for these applications is to reduce weight. This is particularly the case when the electronics systems are airborne or ship-based. As an example of the possible mass reduction, Dragonplate worked with Frontier Electronic Systems to develop a carbon fiber shock isolation cabinet for the US Navy. This cabinet weighs less than half of the comparable metal cabinets, yet easily passed the 100g shock testing. As a result of the lower density and increased stiffness of the carbon fiber, not only did the structure survive all impact and vibration testing, it actually performed better than the much heavier aluminum enclosures due to the high natural frequency.
In addition to reduced weight and increased natural frequency, carbon fiber electronics enclosures maintain dimensional tolerances over a much wider temperature range than plastic or metal enclosures. The thermal expansion coefficient (CTE) of carbon fiber is approximately the same as Invar, thus greatly reducing thermal issues for sensitive electronics, laser, mirrors, and sensors.
Using off-the-shelf Dragonplate carbon fiber structural components and connector systems, it is straight-forward to construct frames, mounting plates, and easily disassembled lightweight enclosures. If a more custom solution is needed, our in-house engineering support provides CAD, FEA, CFD, and prototyping capabilities.
For those applications whose operating temperatures reach between 250 and 500 degrees fahrenheit, DragonPlate also offers a high temperature carbon fiber that can withstand these temperatures for extended periods of time. This new material can survive direct exposure to a propane torch for 30 to 60 seconds with only a minor reduction in stiffness and is perfect for those applications where weight and high temperatures are an issue.
If your electronics enclosure also requires EMI Sheilding, DragonPlate offers the application of a copper coating on one or both sides of your carbon fiber sheet. This copper coating can be applied on virtually any of our products, including carbon fiber cores, sheets, tubes and structural components. This coating is great for creating RF sheilded enclosures, RFID blocking enclosures and Faraday cages.