All Things Carbon Fiber!

Rock West Composites offers a full suite of carbon fiber composite products. From tubes to plates, from angles to connectors, to prepreg to carbon fiber tow, we've got it in store and waiting for you!

Carbon fiber basics

Most of our customers know their stuff when it comes to composites and carbon fiber, but we also want to be a place for those who are learning about this material and how it can help them achieve their objectives. Here are some of the basics.

What is carbon fiber?

"A strong, stiff, thin fiber of nearly pure carbon, made by subjecting various organic raw materials to high temperatures, combined with synthetic resins to produce a strong, lightweight material used in construction of aircraft and spacecraft."

What is a carbon fiber filament?

Filaments are the individual carbon fibers included in the tow or strand.

What is carbon fiber tow?

Tow is the strand or small bundle of carbon that you see in woven fabric or spools of carbon fiber.

What is carbon fiber filament count and what do we use it for?

This number indicates the total number of filaments included in a tow. The “k” represents 1000. For instance, a 3k filament count is 3000 individual filaments contained in a single tow or strand. The higher the filament count, the thicker and more difficult the material is to handle with bends and compound curves. Filament count choice should be determined by the engineering requirements.

What kinds of carbon fiber are there?

Standard modulus carbon fiber is the do-all carbon fiber and usually the most affordable. It's strong, stiff and lightweight. Intermediate modulus is the strongest available fiber while retaining. High and ultra high modulus tubes are very stiff but become more brittle, the higher the modulus. As with all choices, engineering requirements should guide your carbon fiber choice.

Why Should I Use Carbon Fiber Tubing?

Carbon fiber has the best combination of high strength, high stiffness and lightweight. Our carbon fiber tubes are as strong as steel, as stiff as aluminum and lighter than titanium. Carbon fiber tubes can replace metal tubes in many applications. We offer a wide range of tubes to fit your needs.

Why Are There So Many Kinds Of Carbon Fiber Plates?

Carbon fiber plates comes in so many variations to fit a wide range of applications. Standard carbon fiber plate is an excellent replacement for aluminum plates when you need something lightweight and strong. Unidirectional plate is extra stiff in one direction and high temp plate is good to 400°F+.

What Is Carbon Fiber Fabric?

Carbon fiber fabric is just like other fabrics except it uses carbon fibers instead of cotton, nylon, polyester, etc. The weave is coarser than fabrics used for clothing is more like a heavy canvas. Carbon fiber fabric needs to be laminated with a matrix (i.e. epoxy resin) to form a rigid structure.

What’s The Difference Between Carbon Fiber Fabric And Prepreg?

Prepreg is a version of carbon fiber that already has a tacky resin impregnated into it. Both carbon fiber fabric and prepreg can be cut and formed into all sort of shapes. Unlike carbon fiber fabric which can be made at room temperature, prepreg requires elevated temperatures and pressure to cure properly.

Video - Carbon Fiber vs Other Materials