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Benefits And Implications Of Carbon Fibre Reinforcement Polymer
Carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) is only one of many fiber reinforced plastics. Apart from carbon, there are such types of fiber as glass, asbestos, aramid, and wood. However, it is carbon fiber reinforced plastic that raised in popularity recently. It is highly required in aircraft, spaceflight, automobile engineering, and medical sphere. This popularity is due to the specific mixture of polymer matrix and fibers which results in unique qualities. While particular characteristics of every composite are mainly influenced by choice of fibers, general features of carbon fiber reinforced plastic include high strength, lightweight, and rigidity.
When working with carbon fiber reinforced plastic, it is crucial to understand both pros and cons of the material. While CFRP possesses such positive properties as a lightweight, radiolucency, exceptional durability, strength, corrosion-resistance, and friction bearing, carbon fiber weakness include considerable cost and brittleness.
The first and the most widely known benefit of carbon fiber reinforced plastic is its strength-to-weight ratio.
This property is of importance in cases when the weight of the object produced has a significant influence on its performance. For instance, it allows light manufacturing vehicles which can use a less powerful engine and save more fuel. Indeed, CFRP outperforms steel in strength and stiffness. To be precise, a specific quantity of carbon fiber reinforced plastic will be as strong as steel which amounts 20% of its weight.
Second, carbon fiber reinforced plastic is characterized by radiolucence. Although carbon is fragile and it is hard to form it into small details, it also possesses excellent enhancing qualities.
Since it is transparent to x-rays, it gradually replaces metallic alloys in medical devices. Outstanding fatigue performance of the material allows medical specialists to make implants with extended service life period.
The third advantage of CFRP is its exceptional durability. The perfect structure and qualities of the material lead to the stability and immunity to severe environmental conditions. CFRP is humidity, saline-water, and high alkalinity, as well as ultraviolet radiation. Numerous scientists observe that while degradation of the material is possible on the surface of the object, irritant agents have a very limited influence on the mechanical behavior.
The fourth advantage of the carbon fiber material is its low thermal expansion. Thermal expansion refers to the tendency of the object to expand and contract depending on the temperature of the environment. Low thermal expansion contributes to the stability of the material. Materials with low thermal expansion are suitable in cases when the small changes of position matter. While thermal expansion of steel amounts to 7-inch degrees F, the one of the CFRP hovers around -1 to 8 degrees. Depending on the type of fiber and method of manicuring, CFRP can be exceptionally stable. This characteristic makes it possible to use CFRP in aircraft, optical machinery, telescopes, and waveguides.
Next benefit of CFRP is its resistance to corrosion. This process affects the surface and structure of metal and results in a loss of weight of metal. All alleys deteriorate and corrode; however, the low rate of corrosion ensures more extended exploitation period. Moreover, low price of corrosion leads to the safe use. Depending on the type of resin used for production, CFRP oxidizes in at temperatures from 2700°C to 120°C. While made of the proper fibers and resins, carbon fiber reinforced plastic is one of the most resistant to corrosion materials.
Another key point to mention is high vibration resistance of CFRP. Fraying is one of the primary damage types that affect fiber reinforced plastics, it results in deterioration of the surface of the object and degradation of the overall performance. Moreover, vibration exposure affects the health of the employees working with the vibrating material and may lead to numerous diseases. Carbon fibers stand out from other composite materials presenting the sustainable and efficient performance.
While CFRP presents a variety of advantages, there are several drawbacks of this material that limit the scope of its application significantly. First of all, cost of this composite material is relatively high. Manufacturing of CFRP is a complicated process that requires advanced technical equipment. Cost also depends on the number of factors that include market conditions, fiber tow size, and type of carbon fiber. Despite the fact that the rate is high, CFRP possesses unique properties and is highly demanded in many technical spheres.
Next disadvantage is the brittleness of CFRP. The material is not as integral as its alternatives, that is why it is easily damaged when hit. Despite the fact that the surface of an object may remain unchanged, inner structure disintegrates. As a result, additional safety precautions are needed during the exploitation of carbon fibers.
Another drawback of CFRP is high repair cost. Since carbon fiber is relatively brittle, it may need repairs quite often. However, the process of renovation is complicated because of the complex structure of the material. Each damaged fiber cannot be repaired and, as a result, all the piece of plastic becomes unfit for use.
Carbon fiber reinforced plastic possesses unique qualities needed in several technical areas; however, it has several drawbacks that restrict the scope of its application significantly. Primary advantages of this composite material include strength-to-weight ratio, radiolucency, durability, low thermal expansion, corrosion-resistance, and vibration resistance. On the flip side, CFRP is fragile, costly, and hard to repair. This material is still cannot take the place of steel in all the cases. For the reasons discussed, the full substitution will be either uneconomic or technically unacceptable. That is why every case of application should be regarded separately. There is a further need to compare and contrast the properties of CRFP with advantages and disadvantages of kevlar, steel, glass ﬁbers, and aluminum.
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