Tubular structures are beneficial for a wide array of applications. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the unique properties of carbon tube place it in high demand in many industries. More and more often these days, carbon tubes replace steel, titanium, or aluminum tubes in applications where weight is an important factor.
Weighing in at as little as one-third the weight of aluminum tubes, it’s no wonder that carbon fiber tubes are often the preference in industries such as aerospace, high-performance vehicles, and sporting equipment, where weight is a crucial factor.
Carbon Tube Properties
Some of the unique properties that make carbon fiber tubes preferable to tubes made of other materials include:
- High strength-to-weight and stiffness-to-weight ratios
- Resistance to fatigue
- Dimensional stability due to an extremely low coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE)
Carbon Fiber Tube Characteristics
Carbon fiber tubes are typically produced in circular, square, or rectangular shapes, but they can be fabricated into almost any shape, including oval or elliptical, octagonal, hexagonal, or custom shapes. Roll-wrapped prepreg carbon fiber tubes consist of multiple wraps of twill and/or unidirectional carbon fiber fabric. Roll-wrapped tubes work well for applications that need high bending stiffness combined with low weight.
Alternatively, braided carbon fiber tubes are made up of a combination of carbon fiber braid and unidirectional carbon fiber fabric. Braided tubes offer excellent torsional characteristics and crush strength, and they are well-suited for high-torque applications.