Technician Interview: Carbon Fiber

Many FGCI customers and subscribers have asked questions that were related to a better understanding of Carbon Fiber. So, we sat down with our technician, Pat Hery, and informed him of the common questions, and we must say, the responses were quite interesting!

 

 

 

Interview:13227156_1285749204772979_8868784239727017846_n

What are the common uses for carbon fiber?

There are many common uses for carbon fiber such as golf clubs, bicycles, aircrafts, automotive, iPhone cases. But, we usually see carbon fiber used as aesthetics, like car parts, hoods and speaker boxes. Unless used for race car or boats were speed is the demand.

What are the advantages of using carbon fiber?

The advantage is, it has the same thickness compared to steel. And as far as stiffness and strength the comparison will require more fiberglass to get the same yield. 

What is the prep method before the application process?

The method depends solely on the mold or if they are overlaying a part. Using epoxy or Vinylester can also be a determining factor. Now let’s say they decide to use epoxy, then, they need to determine if the epoxy is high temp due to the fact that most epoxies will soften up in Florida or in an area that is hot. If they are overlaying a part or making a one-off, they will laminate the carbon, put an extra coat of resin, sand with a 320 and apply an automotive clear.

What are the different ways to apply?

The different methods to apply carbon fiber depend on the surface area one is trying to go over. Carbon Fiber doesn’t like anything but a general curve. When it comes to the application, most will spray super 3M 77 so once the carbon is put in place, it won’t move when doing a thorough wet out of the carbon.

Does the thickness of the carbon matter?

When it comes to thickness of the carbon, this will be important as it can dictate the maximum strength you are looking for. Lastly, the thickness of the layup will depend on what you are trying to achieve.

Let’s talk Fiberglass

Let’s talk Fiberglass, everyone! Here at Fiberglass Coatings, our techs know a thing or two about fiberglass and they are always looking to help. We have some different fiberglass for different jobs, so let’s cover a few of the main types. Most of these are offered in different widths and are sold by the roll or by the yard.

 

mat
1-1/2 oz Mat

Mat – It’s the most basic and widely used type of fiberglass we have. The roll is a whole bunch of small fibers thrown together on a binder. There is no specific direction to the fibers, which makes them pretty universally strong and light. This is sold in anything for ¾ oz all the way up to 2 oz thickness. Mat is generally used for parts, more than anything. It’s also great for not showing fiberglass patterns through the gelcoat.

 

 

woven roving
24 oz Woven Roving

Woven Roving This is a weave, where the long fibers are weaved together like a cloth. They are extremely thick and durable but are also heavier than other fiberglass materials. They aren’t used as much because they often print their pattern through gelcoat, but you will still see this glass for heavy duty items.  Woven Roving is sold in 18 and 24 oz thickness.

 

 

45-45 1708
XM1708

Double-Bias – This is a combination of the two previous fiberglass materials. This product has woven roving on one side and mat on the other, offering the best of both world and making a very sturdy part. This product can also be used for boat and house decks due to its rigidity. This product is sold in 1208, 1708, 2408, and 3610, where the first number is the woven roving thickness (12 being 12 ounce Roving, and 08 being the mat thickness, or in this case ¾ oz).

These products come in one of two types of weaves, or orientations of the fiberglass. The first is referred to as the CM or 0/90 weave. In this case, the weave goes horizontally and vertically, so, it’s stronger for things like stringers. There is also an XM version that is a +/- 45, so they have crossing 45 degree angles. This makes the glass stronger, but it does not fold and bend as easy.

 

6 oz cloth
6 oz Cloth

Cloth Fiberglass cloth is a very fine material, adding rigidity but also providing a good looking product for anything that is see-through. It is very common for surfboards as it’s thin and lightweight and looks nice with clear resin covering it. It’s sold in 4 oz, 6 oz, 8 oz and 10 oz thicknesses.

 

Carbon Fiber – Known for it’s superior strength to other fiberglass material, Carbon Fiber is an extremely popular choice. The material is very light and very durable. Carbon Fiber does not have a binder, the cloth is simply weaved together in different variations, generally called Twils. We carry a Carbon Fiber and a Combo cloth. Carbon Fiber is also the most aesthetically pleasing of the products we have.

 

carbon cloth
Carbon cloth (in black) and our Carbon Combo Cloth (in black and yellow).

 

 

5 Tips for Using General Purpose Resin

Polyester-GP-Resin-Kit1. General purpose resin is excellent for laminating with fiberglass, kevlar and carbon reinforcements.
2. Pigment can be added to this resin, but the maximum is 3%.
3. The ideal temperature is at 77° F. Best results for this product can be obtained at temperatures between 70 and 85 degrees F, in a clean, dry, dust free environment.
4. The thinner the fiberglass, the less chemical reaction you will have. The thicker the fiberglass the less hardener you will need because you will generate more heat and have more chemical reaction, but never go below 1%.
5. To get a complete cure, you will need to add sanding aid to the resin or spray PVA over it, while it is still hot.