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A Sampling of Industry Sectors That Use Carbon Fiber

Carbon fiber has become a serious contender as a manufacturing material for many industries today. It is an ecologically viable resource, and its combination of strength and lightness makes it a desirable material for energy-saving applications. Here follows a sampling of industrial uses for this composite.

Transport

We don’t have to go far here to see the progress this aerospace material has made in this industry. From F1 cars in the 1980s to todayís BMW i-series and recently launched Alfa Romeo 4C, composites have progressed to becoming structural components instead of just add-on aero parts. Similarly, the Boeing Dreamliner uses carbon fiber for the majority of its structures, after the first use of this material in aircraft engine propellers. No one can doubt the integrity of this material for airplane use, as the U.S. Navy has been using the carbon fiberwinged F/A-18 for decades.

Medical

Here too, composites have made enormous strides, literally. The use of carbon fiber prosthetics by athletes is a common sight nowadays, and we have even seen runners compete amongst fully-limbed counterparts. But there are more uses to this composite than meets the eye, as this material is also useful internally for its X-ray transparency properties. It is currently being used for mammogram plates, reinforcing braids, and bolts for limb support. Recent developments have also seen carbon composites being used as bone and lumbar implants, surgical seals, and as bioabsorbable bone growth supports.

Sports and Leisure

Carbon fiber golf shafts and racquet frames? Thatís old news. Nowadays, composites are used for a bewildering array of parts and accessories, from the ludicrous to the practical. The bicycle industry for one has embraced this material wholeheartedly, and though some detractors pan this material as glorified plastic, it cannot be denied that carbon fiber frames and components have been proven in the rigors of professional competition. More mundanely, baby strollers manufactured from composites may sound ridiculous now, but in the near future, they will be as common as the plastic ones we see everywhere.

As one can see, composites have a very promising, even vital, role for the future. When (not if!) the cost of this raw material is reduced by 80%, as the major manufacturers are targeting today, then carbon fiber will truly be a material that will replace the metal alloys that we have been using for generations.