Composites + Epoxy Resins = Results!
Epoxies are thermoset resins—polymers that result from curing liquid polymers into irreversibly hardened materials. They see frequent use when manufacturing composite parts and structures thanks to the host of benefits they provide, such as:
- Exceptional adhesion properties
- High adaptability
- Low shrinkage
- High strength
- Excellent resistance to corrosive liquids and environments
- Reliable performance under high temperatures
- Toughness and impact resistance
Composite materials have similar strength capabilities to metals like aluminum and titanium, while weighing less. They result from combining two or more compounds that retain their macrostructures after fusion. These combinations yield materials with stronger combined physical properties than those of their individual parts.
When manufacturers use epoxies in composite manufacturing, they result in stronger, lighter components.
Composites manufacturers combine epoxy resins and carbon fiber because these materials play to each other’s strengths. Epoxy is one of the few materials that can adhere to carbon fiber, and many other composite manufacturing options don’t offer the necessary adhesive properties.
Composites offer industry professionals several benefits that improve product quality, including:
- High strength and low weight
- Characteristics that can be easily engineered for specialized applications, including:
- Vibrational damping
- Low coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE)
- Resistance to fatigue
- Design and fabrication flexibility—composite materials can:
- Decrease the amount of parts required for a project
- Translate to products that require less raw material and assembly time
- Resist temperature extremes, corrosion, and wear
Many composites manufacturers work with carbon fibers to build high-performance applications, and they appear in countless composites. To build carbon fibers, workers combine several precursor fibers by subjecting them to chemical treatment, heating, stretching, and carbonization.
Carbon fiber offers engineers and designers numerous benefits, such as:
- An exceptionally high strength-to-weight ratio
- High tensile strength
- Aesthetic appeal
- Resistance to temperatures of up to 500° F when combined with epoxy resin
Where To Use Carbon Fiber
A wide variety of industries value carbon fiber for the above benefits, and it appears in all sorts of applications. Some of these materials’ most popular uses include:
Aerospace manufacturers were among the first to discover the benefits of carbon fiber. This material’s high modulus means it can replace traditional alloys like titanium or aluminum. Because carbon fiber weighs so little, it can hold up to many of the elements encountered by aircraft equipment without overly burdening it. Carbon fiber components now comprise the majority of new aircraft, such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, helping reduce fuel consumption.
Sports equipment such as tennis rackets, softball bats, and hockey sticks frequently use carbon fiber composites to reduce equipment weight while preserving durability. Many sporting goods benefit from this combination of light weight and durability because it boosts athletic performance without increasing the risk of breakage.
Carbon fiber composites are perfect or individuals who desire sleek, modern homes. Carbon fiber furniture and appliances give your house a chic appeal without sacrificing quality or performance. It’s easy now to get a hip black coffee table or bar chair right off the shelf—just look for carbon fiber!
Many wind turbines use fiberglass for their blades, but blades that exceed 150 ft. in length typically require “spares,” or stiffening ribs that run along the blade’s length to help maintain structural integrity. Spares are often 100% carbon fiber/epoxy because this material can resist the elements and provide the stiffness needed to keep the blades in place.
Mainstream automobiles are still researching ways to incorporate carbon fiber into new car designs, but high-end cars and racecars have been using this material for some time. Manufacturers of these cars value carbon fiber’s ability to enhance their products’ aesthetic appeal without weighing down their equipment. Some automobile manufacturers also use carbon fiber in internal components like instrument housings.
Composite Manufacturing with Copps Industries Epoxy
Copps is proud to offer the best epoxy resins for every type of composite manufacturing project. As anyone can see, there’s a whole world of ways to use carbon fibers in your next project.