Carbon fiber has been in the spotlight as a super material for decades now. At first, everyone thought most things would be made of carbon fiber by the year 2000. However, the adoption of this material didn´t happen as fast as promised, mainly because of the costs associated with production.
Today, new manufacturing techniques have allowed wider access to composite materials, making it possible to see ever more carbon fiber products such as bikes, drones, and even automotive carbon fiber parts.
Carbon fiber flat sheets are incredibly lightweight and strong enough to provide amazing structural support. Carbon fiber is stronger than steel yet lighter than aluminum. Moreover, it is corrosion resistant and looks amazing even when left untreated.
However, this composite material is extremely rigid too, which makes it brittle and prone to shattering. It has been noted that, when a carbon fiber product or part is involved in an accident, it distributes shock forces in all directions and shatters making it impossible to repair in most cases. This makes many people wonder if using carbon fiber in their projects is worth its cost.
Well, workshops and DIY enthusiasts will be relieved to learn that carbon fiber can be repaired in many instances.
It is known that big manufacturers in the aviation industry such as Boeing have developed carbon repair techniques for their planes, making it possible to extend the lifespan of expensive aerospatial equipment instead of having to discard it every time it presents some damage.
However, a difference must be made between cosmetic fixes and structural repairs.
Cosmetic Carbon Fiber Repairs
When carbon fiber presents damage that does not compromise the structural integrity of the part, repairs are considered cosmetic. These are usually scratches or delamination instances that require the application of additional carbon fiber flat sheets and the appropriate adhesive resin to hide the flaw.
These repairs are easy to perform but require great skills to refinish and properly restore the piece to its former glory.
Structural Carbon Fiber Repair
Structural repair projects are usually more challenging because they will always depend on the extent of the damage and the cost of repairs. Repairing an expensive custom car hood might make more sense than getting a new one, while a busted bike fork usually is not worth the while.
Also, you must consider if the repair will be able to withstand regular use. Repairing a bike rim is usually not a good idea, but restored bike frames usually hold up pretty well.
It is important to remember that not all carbon fiber parts are good candidates for repairs; it always depends on the nature of the damage and the availability of replacement parts or customers willing to pay for them.
The best way to restore broken or damaged carbon fiber flat sheets is by using one of two methods: Carbon Drilling and Joining Sheet.
Carbon Drilling involves cutting away broken pieces of carbon, leaving a decent margin around intact fibers. This process exposes pristine materials which are easy to bond together with fresh sheets and resin.
Joining Sheet methods use heat-activated adhesives along with solvent-based paints to create an instant bond between carbon fiber layers. This process allows customers to restore small damages or reinforce certain parts, but large breaks require drilling or removing material first to make sure design and wall thickness are preserved.
Both processes are affordable and relatively easy to perform, making it possible for just about anyone to perform carbon fiber products.
However, these repairs require the use of high-quality carbon fiber flat sheets to preserve structural integrity and guarantee long-lasting results. Protech Composite is a carbon fiber manufacturer specialized in providing flawless sheets with no porosity, voids, pinholes, or imperfections that could affect the quality of your project. Visit their website or contact them today if you need more information about their incredible products.