Carbon fiber is composed mainly of carbon atoms. It is a material formed per fibers of 50-10 micron of diameter. The atoms are connected each other in crystals that are more or less aligned parallel to the long axis of the fiber.
Its properties, such as high flexibility, high resistance, low weigh and resistance to high temperatures it make it very useful in fields like aerospace engineering and civil engineering. However, it is very expensive if we compare with other kind of fibers such as fiber glass or plastic fiber. So it is very usual to combine the carbon fiber with others materials to create a new component.
The carbon fiber is a polymer similar to the graphite. It is formed thanks to another polymer called ‘poliacrilonitrilo’ (PAN), in a process of heating and oxidation. Like every polymer, PAN create long chains of molecules straighten to make a continuous filament. When it reaches the perfect conditions of temperature, the PAN chains join side to side setting up a graphite chain.
-High mechanical resistance, with an elevated coefficient of elasticity
-Low density if we compare with the steel
-High cost of fabrication
-Brilliant ability of thermal insulation.
-Able to maintain its shape thanks to its thermoset.
– Aerospace industry.
The manufacturing of carbon fiber it means a high energetic expenditure. It generates elevated levels of pollution, so recycle or reuse is very important and very useful.
The processes of recycled are being designed, nowadays we can find the following:
-Adherent Technologies Inc. (ATI) of Albuquerque, New Mexico. They have been working with carbon fiber recycled since 1995.
-Pyrolysis of microwave, is being developed but at the end it will help to reduce the time needed to manufacture carbon fiber.