Composite materials are generally made up of two parts, the fiber fabric and the resin, with the physical properties of the material being fiber dominant. What that means is, when the resin and fiber are combined, their performance will primarily depend upon the fiber used. Test data shows that the fiber reinforcement is the component that will carry the majority of the load within the composite. So what does that mean? Well. Simply put, what fabric you choose is going to matter.
The two most common types of fabric in the industry are fiberglass, and carbon fiber. Both have a wide assortment of usages, and are extremely versatile. How do the two weigh up against each other? While comparing the two, Keep in mind, both fiberglass and carbon fiber will vary depending on the fabric you choose. A lightweight 2 oz Fiberglass Fabric will not have the durability of the more structural 10 oz Fiberglass Fabric. Additionally, the weave of the fabric and the resin used will have a large impact on the strength and properties of your composite product.
Fiberglass is the most widely used fiber in the industry, and with good reason. Fiberglass is versatile, easy to handle and relatively inexpensive compared to its counterparts. Fiberglass is perfect for every day projects that are not expected to need the added strength and durability of higher priced fabrics. Fiberglass is compatible with most resins, and comes in a multitude of patterns and weaves.
Carbon Fiber is far and away the premium end for composite materials. With excellent ultimate tensile strength, along with the greatest compressive, flexural, and bend strength in the industry, carbon fiber is the go to on projects that need to be built tough. Carbon Fiber is ideal for projects that need that added “umph” of strength, so long as you can handle the corresponding “umph” to your wallet. With its distinctive design look, carbon fiber is a popular choice in a multitude of industries, including the automotive and aerospace sectors.
Which is Right For You?
Before you make your decision on fiberglass or carbon fiber, ask yourself the following; do I want this fabrication to be more cosmetic or structural? Is the look and durability of carbon fiber worth the added cost? For specific questions on your needed fabric, for projects like fiberglass decking, contact JC Fiberglass today by calling (908) 596-0455 and have us help you determine which is best for you!