You are here: Home » Glass, carbon and aramid fibers: how to choose the right reinforcement
Glass, carbon and aramid fibers: how to choose the right reinforcement
  The physical properties of composite materials are dominated by fibers. This means that when resin and fibers are combined, their properties are very similar to those of individual fibers. Fiber reinforced material is the component that carries most of the load. Therefore, fabric selection is critical when designing composite structures.

  The average manufacturer can choose from three common reinforcement materials: glass fiber, carbon fiber, and Kevlar® (aramid fiber). Fibre glass materials tend to be the general-purpose choice, while Carbon fiber cloth offers high stiffness and Kevlar® high abrasion resistance.

  Once you've decided on a fabric collection, choose a weight and weave style that suits your job's needs. The lighter the ounce of fabric, the easier it is to drape over highly contoured surfaces. Lightweight also uses less resin, so the overall laminate is still lighter. They are very economical and produce strong and lightweight components for automotive, marine and industrial applications. Fibre glass fabric is a relatively heavy reinforcement material commonly used in shipbuilding and mold making.

  The way a fabric is woven is considered its pattern or style. Choose from three common weave styles: plain weave, satin and twill weave. Fiberglass Plain Weave Cloth styles are the cheapest and relatively least flexible, but they hold together well when cut. Satin and twill weave are softer and stronger than plain weave. In satin weaving, one weft thread floats over three to seven other warp threads and is then sewn under another. In this loose weave type, the thread runs longer, maintaining the theoretical strength of the fiber. Fiberglass twill weave Cloth offers a compromise between satin and plain styles, with the often desirable herringbone trim finish.
Glass fiber reinforcement

  Fiberglass is the foundation of the composites industry. It has been used in many composite applications since the 1950s and its physical properties are well understood. Fiberglass is lightweight, has moderate tensile and compressive strength, can withstand damage and cyclic loads, and is easy to handle.
Fiberglass is the most widely used of all available composite materials. This is mainly due to its relatively low cost and moderate physical properties. Alkali resistant glass fiber is ideal for everyday projects and parts that don't require a fiber fabric for added strength and durability.

  To maximize the strength properties of fiberglass, it can be used with epoxy and can be cured using standard lamination techniques. It is ideal for applications in the automotive, marine, construction, chemical and aerospace industries, and is often used in sporting goods.
Carbon fiber reinforcement
  Carbon fiber contains more than 90% carbon and has the highest ultimate tensile strength in the FRP industry. In fact, it also has the highest compressive and flexural strength in the industry. After processing, these fibers combine to form carbon fiber reinforcement such as fabrics, tow, etc. Carbon fiber reinforcement  provides high specific strength and stiffness, and it is generally more expensive than other fiber reinforcements.
Kevlar® reinforcement

  Kevlar® was one of the first high-strength synthetic fibers to gain acceptance in the fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) industry. Composite grade Kevlar® is lightweight, has excellent specific tensile strength, and is considered highly impact and abrasion resistant. Common applications include light hulls such as kayaks and canoes, aircraft fuselage panels and pressure vessels, cut-resistant gloves, body armor, and more. Kevlar® is used with epoxy or vinyl ester resins.