Lesson #1 Fiber or Fibre

Alright so this new technology is everywhere and people love it for its durability, lightweight, and beauty. The first thing you should get right is the spelling, so going to the alphabet spell it out C-A-R-B-O-N F-I-B-E-R, correct?? Yes and no, all English speaking country’s use FIBRE where in the U.S. they use FIBER I guess there is still tension between England and the U.S. on how to speak proper. So if you’re out of the states remember to switch you E and R if the situation arises.

Next: What is this Technology??

* We hear things like lightweight, ultra weave (uhh not hair), super durable, excellent quality, dry, and wet carbon yet there isn’t a concrete description on most products on what CF is.

  1. It’s a stiff yet brittle fiber-reinforced polymer, has low density and high strength. Its high thermal conductivity and low coefficient of thermal expansion give it its high resistance to thermal shock. So basically its very strong and its chemical structure helps in resisting high temperatures (>600 degrees_)
  2. All grades of Fibre are made by thermal degradation of a polymeric organic precursor. A polymer is simply a long chain of repeating units; for plastics the main component will be carbon. So a simple polymer would look like this -(-C-C-C-C-C-C-C-C-)-.
  3. Most are created from three carbon-containing precursors: pitch, rayon and polyacrylonitrile (PAN)
  4. Space Shuttles, F1 cars, and some CF manufacturers use SiC (silicon carbide if I still remember my chemistry lol) coating on fibres to further enhance resistance to heat and oxidation.
  5. The difference in DRY vs. WET fibre is determined by the heat treatment on the fibres; in short more time spent with the heat treatments will give the fibre better mechanical properties and durability (DRY) instead of one that might contain more impurities (WET).
  6. Pitch and PAN fibres are much stronger than rayon created fibres
    1. Pitch – residue left after distillation of crude petroleum and coal. It has high carbon content and very cheap, mostly composed of aromatic and cyclic aliphatic hydrocarbons that are high in mass. So basically its composed of molecules of carbon formed as a six-membered ring or hexagon.Pitch is heat treated at around 750K creating a type of mesophase (liqiuid crystal), this is then melt-spun into fibers. After thermosetting they are carbonized by heating the compound at temperatures of >1300K. Carbonization provides the removal of impurities such as Hydrogen and Oxygen. This process creates the graphene like sheets that are heat treated to create the graphite-like structure we are familiar in seeing; this process also removes Sulfur and Nitrogen impurities. A protective coating is usually required after in order to resist reactions with other elements in high temperature settings.
    2. PAN fibres usually contain lower Nitrogen content than pitch depending on the grade. Not to get so long winded in the process, but its prepared by starting with the polymer and taking it to these four steps: 1) cyclization, 2) dehydrogenation, 3) oxidation, 4) carbonization.

Passing Grade A-

The Winner in the spelling of CF goes to FIBRE, since we are dealing with lightweight material and the U.S. has a overweight problem with its citizens its only logical to accept the FIBRE spelling of the Queen. Sorry U.S.


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