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Polymer Fibers:

Carbon Fibers

Carbon fibers can be made from polyacrilonitrile (PAN), Rayon or petroleum pitch (also known as bitumen or asphalt). The precursers are first spun into filament yarns. The yarn is heated to remove all noncarbon atoms (carbonization). More heat treatments may be applied to create different grades of fiber.

Carbon fiber is mostly used in composite materials as reinforcement. The fibers can be applied as bundle (tow) or fabric. Tows are created by winding or prepregging the filament yarn. Prepregging means the filament yarn is first dipped into a resin and then heated. Fabrics are created by weaving, braiding or knitting filament yarns or tows. Fabrics are available in many different patterns. The selection of a pattern depends of the final application.

The atomic structure of carbon fiber is similar to the structure of graphite, one of the allotropes (molecular configurations) of carbon. Other common allotropes being diamond and amorphous carbon or noncrystalline graphite.

Carbon fibers can also be referred to as graphite fiber, carbon graphite or CF.