CARBON FIBER VS. GLASS FIBER
A Comparison Between the two Materials
Which material is superior?
WHAT IS CARBON FIBER
Carbon fiber is composed of carbon atoms bonded together to form a long chain. It is basically very thin strands of carbon; even thinner than human hair. The strands can be twisted together, like yarn. The yarns can be woven together, like cloth. These cloths and yarns can be molded and bonded together into any shape desired. This bond is formed by using heat and pressure, combining the fiber with a plastic or a polymer. Carbon fiber is five times as strong as steel, two times as stiff, yet weighs about two-thirds less. Carbon fiber has slowly made its way into multiple industries, replacing metal in certain applications.
Baseball Bats, Golf Clubs, Air Plane Body panels, Concrete Structures, Car Panels, any situation where metal can be replaced by carbon fiber.
WHAT IS FIBERGLASS
Fiber glass is composed of melted glass that has been extruded though bushings; this produces a string like material. This string is then woven into yarn and the yarn into cloth. Like carbon fiber, this cloth can be molded and bonded into any shape desired but fiberglass takes far less heat and pressure to accomplish this bond. Fiberglass is similar to carbon fiber in strength and weight but is slightly more flexible than carbon fiber.
s Car Panels, Air Plane Body Panels, Boats, Piping, Storage Tanks, House Building, Helmets, Insulation
HOW DO THESE TWO MATERIALS COMPARE
Both carbon fiber and fiberglass are similar in many ways, but also have their extreme differences. Both materials can be interchanged in certain aspects of industry depending on the circumstances.
Strength and Modulus
Carbon fiber is slightly stronger than fiberglass and can replace metals in certain applications. Fiberglass, on the other hand might not have a have a higher tensile strength but has a dramatically lower tensile modulus. This allows it bend and take more strain without breaking. Though each material has an overall measurement of strength and modulus, this can vary with the ratio and material each composite material is made of.
Price and Market
Carbon fiber started its early years in the aerospace industry. As engineers stated toying with its many applications it made its way from the sporting goods industry, to the civil engineering industry, finally ending in the automotive and commercial industries. Carbon fibers uses can be endless and are always expanding and developing. The demand for carbon fiber has grown and will continue to grow over the next few years.
The fiber glass market has also been growing, even with the introduction of carbon fiber. Fiber glass not only explores the same industries as carbon fiber; it goes further into different markets and applications. The price of fiber glass is also dramatically cheaper than carbon fiber. The price of carbon fiber prevents it from taking over the composite material industry.
5.04.54.03.53.02.52.01.51.00.50Carbon FiberFiber glass51.50Price per lb (Dollars)
Above is the difference between carbon fiber and glass fiber. Both materials have their pros and cons but overall the superior material fiber glass. Based on ones definition of strength, fiberglass would be considered the stronger material due to its nature to flex to avoid breaking. Also the price of fiberglass makes it superior to carbon fiber in certain aspects. In much of the commercial consumer market carbon fiber has been favored; this has resulted to extreme raises in the prices in products that involve carbon fiber. Fiber glass has proven itself to be superior in the industrial industry, where profit is based upon the least amount of money spent. Fiber glass is also not as aesthetically to the eye as carbon fiber; this is possibly why each material has taken the turns they have in each of the industries.