ISO 9001 & UKAS Registered, Electron Beam Services in the United Kingdom ISO 9001 & UKAS Registered, Electron Beam Services in the United Kingdom

Carbon fibre is a strong and lightweight material that’s often used in high-end cars to reduce their weight and therefore improve their performance.

However, one of the issues with the material is that it isn’t overly flexible, and this has limited its application. But that might all be about to change.

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers recently reported on a breakthrough that’s been made in the manufacture of carbon fibre, improving the flexibility of this material.

German company ZSK has been looking at how to use tailored fibre placement (TFP) to create carbon fibre, instead of the more traditional approach of creating the fabric and then cutting it to shape.

TFP, by contrast, sees the fibres bundled together to deliver strength exactly where it’s needed. These strong sections are then stitched into position on a compatible base layer. As well as making carbon fibre more flexible, it has the added advantage of reducing fibre wastage to around three per cent, instead of the 30-70 per cent usually recorded.

Manager for technical embroidery at ZSK Melanie Hoerr explained that manufacturing carbon fibre has been too expensive to see it adopted in the mainstream.

“Our approach using TFP breaks through that barrier by eliminating most of the manual processing and waste of conventional composite manufacture, while increasing design freedom and improving quality control,” she told the publication.

One place where carbon fibre is regularly used is in motorsport. In an article introducing people to Formula-E, an electric car racing championship similar to Formula One, Motoring Research explained that all the cars in these events are fitted with the same carbon fibre chassis.

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