Fiberglass is the “workhorse” of the composite industry. It’s used in a ton of applications due to its strength and low costs.
However, other fibers are utilized when there’s a need for something a little more. Carbon fiber weaves are a great option for their low weight, high stiffness and conductivity, and appearance.
Aerospace, sporting goods, and automotive industries all make good use of carbon fiber. But how many kinds of carbon fiber are there?
Carbon Fiber Weaves Explained
Carbon fiber is a long, thin strand of mostly carbon atoms. The crystals within are aligned in such a way that makes it incredibly strong for its size, much like a spider web.
Developed in the 1950s, they started as a reinforcement for high-temperature plastic components for missiles and are now used in pretty much every manufacturing you can think of.
Due to its high strength, carbon fiber is very tough to break. It’s also resistant to bending when tightly woven.
Most importantly, carbon fiber is potentially eco-friendly because it creates less pollution than other similarly used materials. However, it’s not as easy to recycle and reuse.
Different Types of Carbon Fiber Weaves
There are a lot of different types of carbon fiber weaves available for purchase. Here are some of the key differences in types of carbon fiber and why you would choose one over another.
2×2 Twill Weave
The most common type of carbon fiber weave you’ll find is the 2×2 twill weave. It’s used in many cosmetic and decorative applications, but also provides moderate formability and stability.
As the name implies, each tow passes over 2 tows then under two tows. This type of weave makes it more pliable and easier to apply.
The only downside is that the applicator needs to handle this weave more carefully than a different weave type as they can accidentally leave slight distortions in it.
Plain 1×1 Weave
The second most used carbon fiber weave is the plain, or 1×1 weave. It looks more like a checkerboard due to the pattern of 1 tow going over another tow and under the next.
As such, it’s a much tighter knit and much harder to warp. However, it’s also much more difficult to drape over a mold than a twill weave.
Unidirectional carbon fiber fabric isn’t actually a weave at all. It’s non-woven with fibers running parallel to each other.
There are no gaps between the fibers, and all of its strength is concentrated along its length. This actually gives it much stronger longitudinal tensile potential than other weaves.
You’d usually see this carbon fiber fabric used where front-to-back strength is important, like in a tubular structure. It also has uses in architectural and structural engineering.
Carbon fiber weaves are useful for just about any industry you can think of, including jewelry, tech accessories, and more.
Twill weaves are great for that carbon fiber aesthetic, while a plain weave is more subtle. And if you’re interested in learning about our fiber products, just reach out to us for a quote.