Carbon fiber is literally a fiber made of carbon. The carbon content is 90% or more for carbon fibers. Nitrogen is the primary element other than carbon.
Carbon fiber is produced by baking polyacrylonitrile (PAN) fiber, pitch fiber or other organic fiber in an inert atmosphere to dissociate elements other than carbon. At least 90% of commercially available carbon fibers are PAN carbon fibers made of PAN fiber, because PAN fiber is better than pitch carbon fiber in terms of the balance of performance, cost and ease of use.
The two key features of carbon fiber are its excellent strength and light weight. The specific gravity of carbon fiber is around 1.8, which is approximately one-fourth of iron’s specific gravity of 7.8. Carbon fiber is also significantly lighter than aluminium and glass fiber having a specific gravity of 2.7 and 2.5, respectively. In addition, carbon fiber has excellent strength and modulus of elasticity: its specific strength is approximately 10 times the specific strength of iron, while its specific modulus of elasticity is approximately 7 times that of iron. That’s why carbon fiber is a favourite lightweight material to replace conventional metal materials. Carbon fiber has various other characteristics such as not failing due to fatigue, not rusting, and chemically and thermally stable. It is a highly reliable material whose characteristics are stable over long time even under severe conditions.
Epoxy resins are a class of reactive pre-polymers and polymers which contain epoxide groups. Epoxy resins may be reacted either with themselves through catalytic homopolymerization or with a wide range of co-reactants including poly-functional amines, acids (and acid anhydrides), phenols, alcohols and thiols. These co-reactants are often referred to as “hardeners” or “curatives”, and the cross-linking reaction is commonly referred to as curing. Reaction of polyepoxides with themselves or with polyfunctional hardeners forms a thermosetting polymer, often with high mechanical properties, temperature and chemical resistance.
The use of epoxy resin is extremely important in carbon fiber products. Carbon fibres, in fact, are fibers that stands alone, separated one from the others. Epoxy resin is the material that allow carbon fibres to stay together.
A prepreg material is a composite material made by carbon fiber and epoxy resin. We buy prepreg as a fabric rolled up in a roll. All our entire production is made by using prepregs.
The main steps to manufacture a carbon fiber part are:
First send an email to Italica through our web-site. You will be asked to forward us a target buying price for the item you need, together with the quantity you expect to buy, and as much technical information you have. We ask you a target price since we can immediately evaluate if your request can be managed by Italica or not.
Italica can’t deal with these customers mainly because we are an industrial scale manufacturer focused on industrial production.
We check the R&D costs based on every single project complexity. Depending on this latter, in some projects we don’t charge for R&D and in some others we do.