What is Carbon Fiber Used For?
You no longer have to be a fighter pilot or Formula 1 driver to come in contact with carbon fiber. Today, you can find carbon fiber in many of the products you may be using everyday …from your money clip or your smartphone case… to your sports insoles or your mountain bike. People love the look, the feel and the performance that comes with this highly engineered composite material.
The Evolution of Carbon Fiber
Carbon fiber for manufacturing purposes was invented in Ohio in 1958 and further research in the UK advanced the understanding and usage of this special composite in 1963. Manufacturing carbon fiber is a highly specialized process which requires the proper equipment and expertise. There was a time not long ago when – due to cost barriers – carbon fiber was reserved only for small components in the world of aerospace.
As carbon fiber manufacturers have introduced new materials and methods over the last 10 years, processes have become more efficient and costs have come down. Engineers, innovators and inventors have recognized this and incorporated carbon fiber into more of their product designs.
The Top 5 Advantages of Carbon Fiber
- Lightweight – Compared to many other materials used in manufacturing, carbon fiber is much lighter. Reducing weight of a product or its components can translate to improved speed, performance and energy efficiency.
- Strength – Carbon fiber has a strength to weight ratio of about 5X greater than steel. The composite can be designed to be either quite stiff or flexible and it has the ability to absorb energy better than most materials.
- Durability – This function is of course related to the strength of carbon fiber. There are many applications – like in aerospace and automotive - where reliability is critical and it’s impractical (or dangerous) to have the component wear out prematurely.
- Heat Resistance – Plastics typically cannot maintain their shape or strength under high heat and metal can conduct heat too well, causing parts to overheat. Carbon fiber on the other hand, isn’t good at conducting heat so can be essential for challenging temperature applications.
- Aesthetics – Many people now recognize the “weave” pattern of carbon fiber and the sleek, classy look helps define a high quality, ultra-premium product.
Most Popular Uses of Carbon Fiber:
Carbon fiber is still a relatively expensive composite. But there are some applications and industries that demand the lightweight, strength and durability of carbon fiber:
- Aerospace – As products fly further from the earth, the environment gets more demanding. Aerospace manufacturers understand that they can count on carbon fiber to hold up under even the most challenging conditions.
- Automotive – Carbon fiber has replaced steel in many applications because a lighter weight vehicle means higher speeds, more energy efficiency, and lower CO2 emissions.
- Military – The Department of Defense has been using carbon fiber for decades for their vehicles, as well as for defense (shields & armor) and offense (knives & guns).
- Sporting Goods – Tennis racquet frames are probably the best example of product evolution – from wood, to aluminum, to graphite, to carbon fiber. This is the category where carbon fiber equipment is most visible and growing the most rapidly (bicycles, helmets, golf clubs, hockey sticks and sports insoles like VKTRY).
Want to learn more about VKTRY's Carbon Fiber Insoles?
VKTRY Carbon Fiber Insoles are one-of-a kind performance insoles proven to increase vertical jumps, top sprint speeds & injury protection. Click below to learn how we utilize carbon fiber to help athletes like no sports gear ever has.