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CFC/Carbon fibre reinforced carbon

Carbon fibre reinforced carbon (CFC) consists of a matrix of pure carbon to which carbon or graphite fibres of only a few µm diameter are added. They are frequently only a tenth of the thickness of the diameter of a human hair (approx. 50 µm). Despite this, they contribute a high degree of mechanical stability to the material, and the carbon matrix is capable of absorbing external forces and distributing these throughout the microstructure. In addition to a high degree of strength and rigidity, CFC materials also exhibit pseudoductile fracture characteristics and, consequently, provide the resistance to galling frequently absent in ceramics. Their mechanical strength is clearly demonstrated by the following example: Whereas traditional ceramics rapidly disintegrate into a thousand particles when subjected to blows or vibration, CFC composite materials can even be nailed to the wall without rupturing. CFC materials can resist temperatures up to 2700 °C (in inert gas or a vacuum) and temperature fluctuations of 1500 °C (excellent thermal shock behaviour). Moreover, they are distinguished by good thermal and electrical conductivity and effective chemical resistance. Combined with an extremely low density, these extraordinary properties have led to the use of CFC in a variety of applications. These include aerospace engineering, reactor technology, furnace and equipment manufacture, the semiconductor and hollow glass industry and heat treatment. Impregnation of carbon fibre preforms and the structure of the matrix material is either realised during the liquid phase, soaking with precursors (pitch, resins) and subsequent heat treatment (carbonising, graphiting) or during the gas phase through CVI (chemical vapour infiltration) with pyrocarbon. Shaping of pipes, plates or boards and other semi-finished products can be realised through different techniques such as winding, laminating or pressing (and in autoclaves).

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