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CFRP – plastic with special properties

The properties of carbon fibre reinforced plastics (CFRP) differ so much from that of their matrix material, that a relationship is barely discernible any more. CFRP materials are distinguished by there extremely high strength and rigidity. Low density, excellent damping properties and a high resistance to impacting combined with exactly modifiable thermal expansion to complement the complex characteristics profile. Unlike glass fibre reinforced plastics (GRP), CFRP exhibit considerably greater rigidity, sharply enhanced electrical and thermal conductivity and a lower density. Their positive characteristics (relative to the weight) mean that CFRP materials are typically used for applications in aerospace engineering (the wings of the Airbus A350), in the automotive industry, in motor racing (monocoque in formula 1), sport equipment subject to high levels of stress (bicycle frames) and high-strength and high-rigidity parts in industrial applications, such as robot arms, reinforcement and sleeves in turbomolecular pumps or drive shafts. The positive chemical resistance pays off in the case of CFRP vanes in sliding vane rotary pumps used for aggressive media. CFRP material consists of a polymer (usually duroplastics, thermoplastics) employed as a matrix material in which carbon fibres with a diameter of a few micrometers are embedded. Different processes are utilised for the manufacturer of semi-finished products and final products, depending on the geometry and requirement profile involved. These include fibre winding, autoclave pressing, board pressing, resin transfer moulding (RTM, the resin injection method) or manual laminating for individual and small series production.

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