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    Various Applications of Carbon Fiber

    Applications for carbon fiber are only limited by the imagination of engineers who design products. New uses continue to be discovered. Just a few short years ago, carbon fiber was considered an exotic and expensive material from which to manufacture products. Now it can be found in many aspects of our daily lives. Carbon fiber has many amazing properties that make it ideal for a wide variety of applications. A few of its many applications are discussed below.

    Carbon Fiber in Industrial Automation and Robotics

    The ability of carbon fiber to reduce weight and increase structural stiffness in industrial applications allows for faster movement, reduced cycle time, and reduced motor and actuator loads. These result in increased productivity and reduced maintenance. Replacing heavy metal components with light, stiff carbon fiber components reduces machine downtime, which can significantly improve profitability. Using lightweight end effectors increases production line speed, reduces loads, and improves precision and reliability. In many cases, carbon fiber replacement parts can be integrated into existing manufacturing lines without many other changes. Simply swapping out end effectors with carbon fiber ones can reduce their weight by 35% or more, reducing vibration and bearing and motor wear.

    Carbon Fiber Idler Rollers

    Idler rollers can be fabricated from carbon fiber tubes with stiffness comparable to aluminum or steel, depending on the application. Weighing in at half the weight of aluminum and ⅕ the weight of steel, carbon fiber idler rollers can solve many problems associated with metal rollers, including inertial and bending issues. Some advantages and benefits of carbon fiber idler rollers over metal include:



    Lower roller inertia and increased stiffness

    • Lower inertial forces

    • Reduced roller wear

    • Less web scratching

    • Fewer web breaks

    • Reduced vibration

    • Reduced web wrinkling

    • Longer bearing life

    Less power & fewer motors required to run

    • Lower energy consumption

    • Fewer mechanical breakdowns

    Reduced roller weight

    • Smaller bearings required

    • Reduced maintenance

    • Easier and safer handling

    Faster line speeds

    • Less web stretch

    • Less web wrap-up in case of a web break

    • Extended life

    • Increased output

    • Higher product quality

    Carbon Fiber UAVs and Drones

    The availability of lightweight, strong carbon fiber composites for UAV structures can provide a significant advantage in meeting airframe weight goals. Obviously, this makes carbon fiber composites the ideal solution for building drones. In fact, as the drone/UAV market has grown in recent years, increased demand for payload capacity and performance have made carbon fiber-reinforced polymers (CFRPs) the most sought-after material for UAV airframe construction. Further, carbon fiber composites are ideally suited for multi-rotor helicopter construction due to the reduced inertia and increased stiffness of carbon fiber rotors, which reduces vibration, keeping the UAV more stable during flight.

    Carbon Fiber for Marine and Aircraft Interiors

    When it comes to the luxury yacht and aircraft interiors, using carbon fiber composites benefits the design in two ways:

    • Weight reduction—offers improved fuel efficiency and increased payload

    • High-tech distinction—with the beautiful aesthetic of carbon fiber

    Carbon Fiber Aerospace Tooling and Manufacturing Fixtures

    Large tools, such as those used in aircraft production, can be exceedingly heavy. Using carbon fiber composites in the fabrication of such tools and fixtures can reduce their weight by 50% or more, and in some cases, up to 75%. The benefits of creating carbon fiber tooling include:

    • Improved ergonomics

    • Faster installation and teardown

    • Reduced transportation costs

    • Lower potential for causing damage

    Carbon Fiber Electronics Enclosures

    When sensitive electronics, lasers, mirrors, and sensors must be stored or transported, carbon fiber is the ideal material from which to construct enclosures. Benefits of using carbon fiber to fabricate electronics enclosures include:

    • Reduced weight

    • Increased natural frequency

    • Improved shock tolerance

    • Reduced thermal expansion

    • Availability of EMI shielding, RF shielding, and RFID blocking

    Radar Structures and Tactical Military and SWAT Gear

    A major challenge for military equipment is transported to remote locations. Building radar structures and other equipment from carbon fiber composites, Kevlar, and fiberglass can mean the difference between being able to carry equipment in or having to transport it by vehicle. Some advantages to building radar structures and tactical military and SWAT gear from these materials include

    • Lighter weight and improved portability for support structures and telescoping equipment, including fold-out ladders, poles, and portable bridges

    • Near invisibility to radar signals when using Kevlar and fiberglass for radomes

    • Improved electrical and thermal conductivity

    Medical Imaging, X-Ray, and Gamma-Ray Applications

    Carbon fiber is an ideal solution for constructing medical imaging tables, arm supports, and similar components. Benefits of creating these items from carbon fiber include:

    • Carbon fiber is radiolucent

    • CF maintains dimensions under load due to superior strength and stiffness

    • CF will not break down, even after years of x-ray or gamma-ray exposure

    • Substantially less attenuation of x-rays in the carbon fiber matrix

    Carbon Fiber in Musical Instruments

    Carbon fiber strips are excellent materials for many aspects of building musical instruments. Some uses of carbon fiber strips in musical instrument construction include

    • Neck reinforcement

    • Headstock joint strengthening

    • Guitar bracing

    • Lattice support bracing—allows greater thinning for increased response

    • Longitudinal internal supports—reduces stress on top sounding plates

    Other Carbon Fiber Applications

    The lightweight and superior strength and stiffness of carbon fiber over most traditional metals mean carbon fiber can be used to improve the design of just about any item imaginable. A few other applications for carbon fiber include:

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