Carbon fibre reinforced polymer
Carbon Fibre reinforced polymer commonly known as CFRP is a very strong composite material that is majorly preferred for many automotive and aeronautical application due to the fact that despite their strength that still light that the traditional metallic materials. The polymers often used to make this composite material is epoxy, polyester, vinyl and even nylon. Thus in making CFRP carbon fibre is often combined with polymers such as epoxy to result in a material that has a very high strength-to-weight ratio. Carbon fibre reinforced polymers despite being relative expensive as compared to other traditional metallic materials; they have been preferred for many applications such as in the automotive industry and aeronautical industry where high strength-to-weight ratio is demanded.
(Image 1: carbon fibre reinforced polymer)
Advantages of CFRP over Traditional metallic material
Carbon fibre reinforced polymers are very strong which has made them of interest in the field of engineering. According to Gesellschaft (1981), CFRPs is important because they can offer high strength value at a relatively low value of weight. In the construction of body parts of automobiles, it is important that the designs are very low in fuel consumption. In order to have the minimal fuel consumption then, the first issue that the automobile fields have to address is the weight of the designs. CFRPs are of interest because they can be able to increase fuel efficiency in many car designs by reducing the overall weight of the automobiles. When the weight is reduced other benefits like reduced life cycle costs are also reduced. The stiffness of any material depends on its modulus of elasticity. The modulus of carbon fibre reinforced polymer is typically 20 msi (138 Gpa), and it also has an ultimate strength of 500 ksi (3.5 Gpa). These values are relatively higher when compared with a modulus of 10 msi for aluminium, a modulus of 30 msi for steel and an ultimate tensile strength of 65 ksi, for aluminium and ultimate tensile strength of 125 ksi for steel. As a result, carbon fibre reinforce polymers has a higher modulus of elasticity compared to steel that is considered to be the strongest steel at the same time it also has higher ultimate tensile strength than steel. CFRP can be able to support higher values of force before it snaps making it way too stronger than traditional metallic material used automotive industry (Gesellschaft 1981). According to Bajpai (2013), a CFRP has higher stiffness-to-weight ratio as compared to the steel that is the strongest metal and also than aluminium. Taking, for instance, a plain-weave CFPR bears young modulus value of approximately 6 msi and the same plain-weight has a volumetric density of about 83 lbs/ft3. As a result, the stiffness to weight of the material is about 107 ft. On the other hand, the same size of aluminium material would have a density of 169 lbs/ft3 that result to stiffness to weight of 8.5 x 106 ft. Steel of the same size would have steel is 489 lbs/ft3 and thus resulting in a stiffness to weight of 8.8 x 106 ft. A plain-weave carbon fibre reinforced polymers offer a higher stiffness to weight ratio higher that both aluminium and steel. The stiffness to weight ratio of carbon fibre reinforced polymer is 18% greater than aluminium and 14% greater than steel. It is thus observed that, the carbon fibre reinforced polymers can be customized through laminate placements so as to not only to offer strength and stiffness in various automobile application but also to achieve this without adding extra weight to the design. According to Bajpai (2013), carbon fibre reinforce polymers have weakness of being anisotropic in that the strength of the CFRP is directionally dependent and that the strength can only be guaranteed n a specific direction and when a different direction is taken then it bears a totally...
References: VDI-Gesellschaft Kunststofftechnik, 1981, Processing and uses of carbon fibre reinforced plastics. Düsseldorf: VDI-Verlag.
Fitzer, E., Centro Técnico Aeroespacial., United Nations Industrial Development Organization., United Nations Financing System for Science and Technology for Development., & International Conference on Carbon Fibre Applications,1985, Carbon fibres and their composites. Berlin: Springer-Verlag.
Bajpai, P, 2013, Update on carbon fibre. Shrewsbury: ISmithers Rapra Publishing.
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