Building materials will always be needed for industry, and humanity has come a long way from the days of mud brick houses or simple log cabins. Today, commercial buildings and other structures can be built out of more advanced, efficient materials such as structural carbon fiber, and this can make for lightweight, flexible, and safe building materials for construction crews to use on their next project. Aside from structural carbon fiber, tough materials like a carbon fiber composite or other carbon fiber services can be used for an impressive variety of items and purposes, and any carbon fiber project may yield anything from clothing to wire cables to the skeleton of a building. The structure of carbon fiber may give it some advantages over older building material such as steel I-beams, in fact. Just how strong is carbon fiber, and what kinds of jobs can it fulfill?
Structural Carbon Fiber and More
A rayon precursor was used for the first high-performance carbon fibers, and carbon fiber prototypes have evolved since then. These fiber composites are often 10 times th4e strength of regular steel and it is usually half the weight, making it a very effective construction material for building an office tower or any other type of skyscraper. Most carbon fiber is made of polyacrylontrile, or PAN, and a carbon fiber is nearly 90% made of this material. The fibers themselves are extremely slender, but when woven together, they can make this powerful material and its function possible. A carbon fiber is anywhere from five to 10 microns thick, which is in fact close to the width of a spider’s silk. PAN-based carbon fiber, in particular, can offer strength levels of close to 1,000 KSI, and they may have high stiffness as well. Not surprisingly, there is a big market for this kind of material. Lucintel has estimated that the composite materials market may reach a value close to $38 billion by the year 2023, and already, such materials are proving their worth. Aside from the structural carbon fiber used for construction, how else might carbon fibers be used in today’s manufacturing?
Using Carbon Fibers
Carbon fibers are very tough but also flexible, and their material can be made as thick, thin, flexible, or stiff as the job requires, so carbon fiber rods or fabric can be made just right for the job. Clothing, for example, can be made of this material, usually hobby or work-based clothing that can easily resist wear and tear, and is in fact comfortable for a person to wear, especially if they have padded lining inside the clothing while using it. Sports outfits such as gloves for riding a motorcycle or ATV, for example, may be made of this material, and uniforms for those who work in factories or manufacturing plants or other labor-intensive jobs can make use of carbon fiber weave clothing to keep them safe, and at no expense of comfort or mobility.
Carbon fiber can also be made into tube shapes, flexible but tough for any jobs. One way to do this is to use structural carbon fiber to make cables, such as those tough metal cables used to support the body of a suspension bridge. Carbon fiber cables might also be used for construction work, such as hauling heavy loads of materials upwards on a winch or crane. Another way to use carbon fibers is to make hollow cables for wires. In some applications, an electric wire would be badly damaged and rendered useless in an extreme envrionment, even if its own plastic sheath is in good condition, so in extremes, carbon woven cables can be used as a hose to protect the wires inside. Such cables may be used inside the engine of a vehicle such as a train, an airplane, or a dump truck, and these carbon fiber cables can protect the wires from pressure and extreme heat. The same may be true if the surrounding air is very cold, such as if the airplane is very high in the atmosphere. In general, these carbon fiber cables can protect the wires inside from heat, cold, pressure, and jostling. They should also be routinely inspected for damage and repaired or replaced if need be.