How Is Carbon Fiber Made?
Carbon fiber is a carbon reinforced polymer. When forming a carbon fiber panel or component, a sheet of raw carbon fiber material is tightly placed over a mold which is usually made of wood or plastic. The sheet is drawn tightly over the mold and a liquid polymer is painted over the sheet. A chemical reaction occurs between the sheet and the liquid polymer, converting it to a structure that is harder than steel and lighter than aluminum. The carbon fiber sheets are made using a process where individual strands are woven into sheets. Making the individual strands requires the application of heat to polyacrylonitrile strands multiple times, causing the strands to lose hydrogen atoms each time heat is applied.