May 09, 2011
Have you ever seen pinholes in a piece of carbon fiber laminate? Pinholes are minor cosmetic imperfections that sometimes occur in gloss panels; they don’t affect the structural characteristics or strength of product. They look just like they sound – like a pin was stuck in the sheet. A sheet can have one or two, they can be clustered in one spot, or all over the sheet. They’re not noticeable from a distance but if you hold a sheet under a bright light and look closely, you can see them. They can be an issue for any manufacturer making carbon fiber laminates using a vacuum infusion technique.
What Causes Pinholes?
Pinholes occur as a result of the gases formed during the catalytic reaction between epoxy resin and hardener. In ideal circumstances, the outgassing from the reaction is completed when the resin is introduced to the carbon, producing a perfect high gloss panel without pinholes. However, circumstances can occur in which the chemical reaction not completed when the resin is introduced into the carbon and outgassing continues while the resin is being infused. When this happens, the gas bubbles are trapped on the mold surface and form pinholes.
What If I Have Pinholes?
Maybe it won’t matter for your application – no one will see them. If appearance is important, one common fix is to apply a layer of clearcoat to the sheet – it will fill in the pinholes and they’ll disappear.
Either way, if you’ve purchased a carbon fiber laminate that has pinholes, talk to your supplier about it. We inspect every piece of carbon fiber before it leaves our shop; we don’t ship product with pinholes. Some carbon fiber manufacturers view pinholes as an acceptable part of panel manufacturing, we don’t share that view. To us, they're second quality.
Questions? Comments? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feb 28, 2011
Okay, it’s no surprise that we’re big fans of carbon fiber. It has an impressive list of physical properties and besides, it looks great – especially in a gloss finish. But even we have to admit, there are some situations when carbon fiber isn’t a good fit for the job.
Here’s a short list of “do’s and don’ts” when it comes to using carbon fiber:
DO use carbon fiber for applications requiring:
DON’T use carbon fiber for:
If you have an application idea and you’re wondering whether carbon fiber makes sense, just give us a call or drop us an email at email@example.com. We’ll be glad to give you an honest opinion about whether carbon fiber’s a good fit for your project.
Feb 04, 2011
Sometimes customers call us asking about colored carbon fiber sheets. Can you make it white? How about pink? (Yes, we’ve had that request.)
It’s time to set the record straight. What we call “colored carbon fiber sheets” are really a hybrid –- they’re a combination of carbon fiber and another material, often Kevlar or fiberglass. It’s not possible to make a colored carbon fiber sheet because carbon won’t hold color. The problem is, it’s black and removing its color isn’t an option. To get a colored look, weavers make a fabric combining colored Kevlar or glass fibers with the black carbon.
But be aware of imposters! “Colored carbon fiber” will always have some black tows (or yarns) in it – that’s the carbon fiber. If it’s one solid color (not black), you’re looking at 100% Kevlar, fiberglass or another material. It can be deceiving -- they have the look of carbon fiber, but they’re not.
Recently I saw “carbon fiber” jewelry in solid colors – it had the carbon fiber look, but it definitely wasn’t carbon fiber. Sometimes it matters, sometimes it doesn’t. Either way, it’s better to be an informed consumer and know when you’re getting carbon fiber… and when you’re not.
If you’re looking for the real thing, we stock red and blue carbon fiber/Kevlar sheets in .25mm and .5mm thicknesses. Visit our website for more information on sizes and pricing. If you’d like to order, just give us a call.
Dec 16, 2010
When a customer orders carbon fiber with adhesive, we provide them a two-sided sheet of adhesive to apply as they wish. One of the most common questions we get from customers is “how do I apply the adhesive to my carbon fiber sheet?”
Our adhesive of choice is a clear two-sided high temperature vinyl adhesive made by 3M. We like it because there’s no mess, it’s easy to work with and it creates an extremely strong bond. However, there ARE a couple tricks to working with it.
Here’s how we like to apply adhesive:
That’s it! Pretty simple. The heat’s the real secret to creating the best possible bond. Just be careful not to overheat.
Have a question? Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at (360) 573-7800.
September 8, 2010
So you’re in the market for carbon fiber sheets. Maybe you like the way it looks, or you’ve got a project that requires a material that’s strong and lightweight. You’ve looked online and seen the websites selling carbon fiber sheets and you’re ready to pull the trigger. Carbon’s not cheap, so once you’ve made the purchase, how will you know if you got your money’s worth and received a good quality product?
Here’s what to look for:
If you order a carbon fiber sheet online and it has any of the problems above, consider returning it to the company. By doing so, you hold manufacturers to a higher standard and you’ll get the high quality carbon fiber sheet you’ve paid for!