GRAPHITE AS A STRUCTURAL MATERIAL: CARBON FIBER
Carbon Fiber is a structural material of graphite which is an allotrope of carbon. Therefore Carbon Fibre consists of carbon atoms in an atomic structure similar to Graphite. Carbon Fibre is composed of filament threads and within these threads are an accumulation of thousands of fine Carbon filaments. A filament has a diameter of approximately 5-10 micrometers. (Madehow, 2012) Due to the substantial stability in bonding between Graphite and Carbon Fiber the structure is alike and is constructed in layers of carbon atoms forming an interlocking hexagonal arrangement. Each carbon atom forms covalent bonds to three other atoms creating the hexagonal pattern. (Chem Wisc, 2012) The result of the ordered structure gives Carbon Fibre its qualities. Carbon Fiber is generally combined with alternative materials to produce a composite. It can compose carbon fiber reinforced plastic after it is bathed in epoxy resin and moulded or woven. (Wikipedia, 2012) The durability of the composite lies in the complexity of the weave. It can be contrived at miscellaneous densities in unlimited structures and dimensions. Carbon Fiber has special properties for example it is very flexible, durable, supple and light yet strong. It also has an outstanding strength-to-weight ratio. (Wes Collins, 2010).
Since Carbon Fiber has various excellent properties, it boasts with performances and has several applications in the automotive, military, wind energy and aerospace industry. (Wikipedia, 2012) Especially in the world of sports, many sport good manufactures were influenced to use Carbon Fiber for their products, for instance in bike frames, high jump poles, tennis rackets and baseball bats. (Hornoxe, 2010) Carbon Fiber has also made a large advance in civil engineering. It has been considered an essential engineering tool since it is cost-effective in various field applications such as maintenance and construction of bridges, canals, dams, roads, buildings and reinforcing steel, timber, concrete configurations. (Wes Collins, 2010) Using Carbon Fiber to retrofit dilapidated structures that were intended to endure far less service loads has been more wide spread nowadays. Utilizing Carbon Fiber composite tubes beneath bridges can help to reinforce bridges because after the tubes solidify they are twice as hard as steel and corrosion resistant. (Ali Kleiman, 2009) The tubes provide protection from the water and other natural components, thus increasing the sustainability. It is predicted that the maintenance costs are decreased in addition to environmental impacts. (Ali Kleinman, 2009) As mentioned before, the benefits of Carbon Fiber is the correlation of flexibility, lightness and durability. Another benefit is the weight-to-strength ratio (Wes Collins, 2010) and the flame resistance. This suggests that Carbon Fiber products have a long service life. This benefit is important because it spares resources and no additional maintenance costs are needed. Some of the limitations of Carbon Fiber is that it is expensive and there is a high production cost since mass-production can be difficult. This is a drawback because the higher the cost, the less attainable it is to the whole population. Another limitation is that Carbon Fiber is hard to recycle because the only convenient procedure is “Thermal Depolymerization” whereby in an oxygen-free chamber the Carbon Fiber thermally deteriorates. (Todd Johnson, 2012) This is a problem because after the procedure the fibers are shortened resulting in a frailer material than the original. In my opinion the benefits weigh out the limitations because from what I have researched Carbon Fiber can be used for several applications and it is more stable, enduring and maintainable than most other structural materials.
Natascha Schoepl 10.1 Chemistry
Carbon Fiber affects the environment more positively in the automotive industry since it reduces the weight of the car and...
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