Despite a sharp increase in the adoption of this super material, carbon fiber continues to be considered a luxury in many industries. Many of us wonder why it is so expensive to manufacture carbon fiber parts, and have to always ponder if it makes sense to use this composite in our projects or if there are cheaper but less ideal alternatives out there.
Today, I´m going to talk about why this composite in particular is so expensive, and why finding the right carbon fiber supplier can have a great impact on your manufacturing process. Generally, there are two factors that affect costs:
Carbon Fiber Is Scarce
Being an exclusively man-made material, there is no way to obtain carbon fiber from natural sources. This means that this composite material can only be obtained from carbon fiber suppliers. However, they are not as abundant as we would like.
When compared to other commodities such as steel and aluminum, carbon fiber supply is extremely limited. Raw metals used in construction are measured in international markets in millions of tons produced every year. Contrastingly, carbon fiber only represents a tiny fraction of the market and is measured in thousands of tons worldwide. In other words: there is not enough supply for the increased demand.
Carbon Fiber Production Requires A Lot Of Work
Precursor materials must be put through various processes to transform polyacrylonitrile resin (PAN) into fibers. PAN needs to be treated with chemical and thermal reactions while being reinforced at atomic levels and stretched into threads. Producing a single thread requires a lot of energy and it is a very involved process that requires carbon fiber suppliers to do a lot of monitoring every step of the way. This makes it extremely difficult for companies to scale production up, especially when considering that each carbon fiber supplier uses its own proprietary formulas to cater to certain industries and customers.
Despite these factors, carbon fiber prices are relatively low when compared to what they were a few decades ago. Commercial-grade carbon fiber products used to go for as much as $20 a pound. Today, some products can go below the $10 mark and still offer great advantages over their alternatives.
The reason for this drop can be found in technological advances made by carbon fiber suppliers, such as Protech Composites. Their proprietary formulas allow them to use more reactive resins that not only cut down cycle times but also reduce energy consumption, reducing their carbon footprint and the overall costs. This translates into higher quality products available for an increased number of industries and consumers.
Today, lowering your carbon fiber costs does not have to come at the expense of quality and performance. Get industrial-grade composite materials from a carbon fiber supplier that understands what your project needs and is always on your side. Protech Composites has become a trusted name in the aerospace, automotive, and medical industries, but also specializes in providing high-quality carbon fiber sheets for diverse fields such as the outdoor, fashion, and interior design industries. Contact their friendly team today and learn how this amazing material can revolutionize the way people regard your products.