Carbon-Fiber-Reinforced Polymer (CFRP)

Definition - What does Carbon-Fiber-Reinforced Polymer (CFRP) mean?

Carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) is a very strong and light fiber-reinforced polymer which contains carbon fiber.

Carbon-fiber-reinforced polymers are composite materials. They consist of two elements: a matrix and reinforcement. In CFRPs the reinforcement is the carbon fiber and the matrix is usually a polymer resin. The material properties depend on these two elements.

Carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer is also known as carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic or carbon-fiber-reinforced thermoplastic or often simply carbon fiber, or even carbon.

Corrosionpedia explains Carbon-Fiber-Reinforced Polymer (CFRP)

In carbon-fiber-reinforced polymers the polymer is most often epoxy, but other polymers, such as polyester, vinyl ester or nylon, are sometimes used to bind the reinforcements together. The composite may contain other fibers such as Kevlar, aluminum, or glass fibers as well as carbon fiber, which provides the strength. The reinforcement gives CFRP its strength and rigidity.

The properties of CFRPs depend on the layouts of the carbon fiber and the proportion of the carbon fibers relative to the polymer. The properties of the final CFRPs product can also be affected by the type of additives introduced to the binding matrix (the resin). The most frequent additive is silica, but other additives such as rubber and carbon nanotubes can be used.

Carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer has the best strength-to-weight ratio of all construction materials. It is an improvement on glass-fiber-reinforced plastic, although much more expensive. Although they can be expensive to produce, CFRPs are commonly used wherever high strength-to-weight ratio and rigidity are required, such as:

  • Aerospace
  • Automotive
  • Civil engineering
  • Sports goods
  • An increasing number of other consumer and technical applications

Despite its high initial strength-to-weight ratio, one structural limitation of CFRP is its lack of a fatigue endurance limit. As a result, when utilizing CFRPs for critical cyclic-loading applications, engineers may need to employ considerable strength safety margins to provide suitable component reliability over a sufficiently long service life.

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