Carbon fiber dust is VERY VERY BAD FOR YOU. Always wear a respirator when working with carbon fiber. Keep the respirator on when cleaning your work area. Do everything possible to avoid breathing the dust. The dust will also make your skin itch. Every time we work with carbon fiber we spend the next few days digging little black splinters from our hands.
All CF has voids and/or air bubbles. We've worked with several carbon fiber sheet manufacturers. We've noticed the quality is dependant on the worker laying up the material. When an experienced employee made the CF, the voids were small. When a new employee made the sheet, the voids were large. This is frustrating when you are trying to provide a consistent material. We scrapped several sheets of CF because we were not satisfied with the quality.
We sell LVA® (Low Void Aerospace) Carbon Fiber. This material has the highest quality, smallest voids and best consistency of any carbon fiber sheet we've ever sold. The key to the quality is how the carbon fiber sheets are made. LVA is made on a press that generates 1,800 tons of pressure (3,600,000 pounds). The high pressure compresses each layer to .007" thick. Most carbon fiber sheet is made using the vacuum bagging process. The layers are stacked and a bag is put over the sheets. Vacuum is applied and atmospheric pressure presses the carbon fiber sheets together. Some manufacturers place the vacuum bag in an autoclave and apply 50-400 pounds of pressure. The vacuum bag process is not as good as a high pressure press at removing voids. The photo below shows a side view of LVA compared with carbon fiber from two other manufacturers.
Carbon Fiber Samples:
Thunderstorm Kevlar is made with layers of Kevlar fabric bonded with resin. Brass wires are woven through the fabric. The layers of fabric are very coarse. It looks almost like burlap. The material polishes very well. Kevlar is a true space age material. It is used in applications where light weight, flexibility and strength are required.
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