Carbon fiber in aerospace applications

Even if the first carbon fibers were produced by Thomas Edison and Joseph Swan as filaments in their incandescent lamps, only in recent years they are becoming an essential material for aerospace applications due to their mechanical properties which include high strength, low weight, and good durability.

What is carbon fiber?

Carbon fiber is a material composed of carbon atoms formulated in long strings of crystals. These fibers are thinner than human hair and thousands of times stronger and can be used in multiple ways. Multiple carbon fiber chains can be twisted together.

Remarkable things about the carbon fiber

  • Strength-to-weight ratio. Carbon fiber is up to 10 times stronger and five times lighter than steel, and eight times stronger and 1.5 times lighter than aluminum.
  • Resistance to high temperatures. Carbon fibers are temperature resistant, whether hot or cold, their size does not contract or expand.

The use of carbon fiber also reduces fuel costs and improves aerodynamics.

Carbon fiber at the MORPHO project

Carbon fiber is a key material for MORPHO, as the project aims to innovate the manufacturing design, to test and validate a new generation of intelligent and multifunctional aeronautic parts. All the tests and experiments are applied to a Foreign Object Damage (FOD) preform made with carbon fiber.

MORPHO, leading towards a circular approach

More than 30 % of the produced carbon fibers end up as waste at some point during the manufacturing process, or as end-of-life components. Considering that, on average, a modern plane contains more than 20 tons of carbon fiber to find a solution to recover used carbon fiber is essential for the industry. The challenge MORPHO is addressing is to obtain a recycled carbon fiber with the same mechanical properties as virgin carbon fiber. Learn here and here how the consortium is working to achieve it!