Understanding the Carbon Fiber Melting Point

When designing with carbon fiber, you’ll want to know the melting point. It’s a crucial factor in the strength of your prototype.

Unlike steel, carbon fiber does not melt or bend under high temperatures, making it an ideal material for crafting your prototypes. A carbon fiber composite’s final product can withstand up to 1,000 W/mK of heat, making it a perfect choice for a range of industrial applications.

How it’s Made

The atomic structure of carbon fiber is based on sheets of crystalline carbon atoms, arranged in a regular hexagonal pattern (like graphene). These strands of crystals are closely linked to one another, giving carbon fiber its stiffness and strength.

Manufacturing Methods

There are many ways to make carbon fiber. The most common process is to stretch precursor materials that contain high carbon content, such as polyacrylonitrile (PAN), or mesophase pitch. These precursors are heated at varying temperatures (not containing oxygen) in cycles to carbonize the strands.

These cycles can be very short, or they can take hours or even days. The end result is a series of stacked and folded strands that are bonded together in a honeycomb-like structure.

During production, the fibers are aligned and oriented according to the desired properties of the composite. The orientation of the fibers determines how stiff the product will be, but this is not always easy to achieve.