Carbon vs Fiberglass

The vast majority of fibers used in composites are carbon fiber and fiberglass. The choice of whether to use carbon or fiberglass in your application depends on many factors. Below is a breakdown of the most importantĀ  carbon and fiberglass characteristics.

 

Carbon fiber composites:

Lightweight

70% lighter than steel, 40% lighter than Aluminum

High stiffness-to-weight ratio

Also known as specific stiffness, this ratio allows materials of different mass to be compared quickly in rigidity-sensitive applications where weight is still a factor. Carbon fiber is about 3 times stiffer than steel and aluminum for a given weight.

Low thermal expansion

As opposed to most other materials, carbon fiber has a negative coefficient of thermal expansion. This means that it expands when the temperature lowers. The matrix will have a positive coefficient, resulting in a near neutral for the composite. This is a desirable quality for applications that have to operate in a wide range of temperatures .

High fatigue level

Carbon fiber composites keep their mechanical properties under dynamic loads, rather than deteriorating slowly over time.

Corrosion resistant

Carbon and fiberglass composites alike perform well in an acidic or otherwise chemically challenging environment. Additives in the resin can enhance this property.

 

Fiberglass composites :

High strength-to-weight ratio

Also known as specific strength, this number allows you to compare materials of different massĀ  for applications where resistance against breaking has priority. Being more flexible, it means that glassfiber typically has a higher ultimate breaking point than a similarly shaped carbon fiber product.

Cost effective

Fiberglass composites are less expensive than carbon composites in most cases

Non-conductive

Fiberglass composites are insulators, which means they do not respond to an electric field and resist the flow of electric charge.

Corrosion resistant

Carbon and fiberglass composites alike perform well in an acidic or otherwise chemically challenging environment. Additives in the resin can enhance this property.

No radio-signal interference (Radiolucent)

Glassfiber composites are very radiolucent, which means they allow radiation to pass through it freely. This makes glassfiber rods very capable antennas.