With advancements made in technology, the use of composite materials such as carbon fiber is becoming increasingly popular. In most industries including in the automotive world, the use of carbon fiber and other similar materials is becoming more prevalent. This is owing to the fact that the materials are not only tougher but also much […]

fasteners for carbon fiber panels
With advancements made in technology, the use of composite materials such as carbon fiber is becoming increasingly popular. In most industries including in the automotive world, the use of carbon fiber and other similar materials is becoming more prevalent. This is owing to the fact that the materials are not only tougher but also much lighter as well. In many cases, it also turns out that they are more environmentally friendly compared to traditional materials such as metal and plastic.

This means that if you are involved in the manufacture of cars, electronics and many other goods, chances are that at some point in time, you will need to start using carbon fiber and other similar materials. However, the one challenge you will face is how to ensure that you don’t use them in the wrong manner. Remember that since these are new materials, they are likely to be a bit more expensive compared to the more traditional ones, so a bit of prudence regarding their use is advised.
The importance of using the right fasteners
One of the ways of reducing the risk of damage when investing in carbon fiber is to minimize the risk of fastener-related damage. This normally occurs when you use the wrong fasteners, or use the right ones in the wrong manner. When you are out there shopping for Inconel hex head cap screws or even alloy 20 carriage bolts, you should first make sure that they are actually ideal for use with carbon fiber.
Some of the risks that you face when using the wrong fasteners include having the carbon fiber break too regularly, and also finding that the fastening is not tight enough.

 
Some of the technical aspects you need to keep in mind when selecting the fasteners
Fasteners to be used on carbon fiber should not be selected in an arbitrary manner. Some of the things that should define what you should pick include:

  • The aesthetics: In many cases, the use of carbon fiber is not only for practical purposes, but also for aesthetic ones. If this is the case, make sure that you pick fasteners that are designed to match with the carbon fiber as far as looks are concerned.
  • The differentials in expansion: Remember that the carbon fiber will expand when exposed to heat, and so will the fasteners. Having very different rates of expansion and contraction between the two will increase stress and result in cracking. Make sure the metal or alloy used for the fasteners has the same characteristics as the carbon fiber.
  • Weight considerations: Carbon fiber is excellent for weight reduction. Don’t negate this effect by using a large number of heavy fasteners. Make sure that whatever you pick is light and strong, just like the carbon fiber.

Being a relatively new material, not all fastener distributors will have all the current updates regarding which type of fastener to use with carbon fiber. To this end, you will need to identify a high quality supplier who has a lot of experience with the material for you to get the right advice regarding which fasteners to pick.

About the Author

Larry Melone
By Larry Melone
President

Started my career in the fastener world in 1969 at, Parker Kalon Corp. a NJ based screw manufacturer located in Clifton, NJ working in inventory control, scheduling secondary production and concluding there in purchasing. In 1971 I accepted a sales position at Star Stainless Screw Co., Totowa, NJ working in inside sales and later as an outside salesman, having a successful career at Star I had the desire with a friend to start our own fastener distribution company in 1980 named: Divspec, Kenilworth, NJ. This was a successful adventure but ended in 1985 with me starting Melfast in August 1985 and have stayed competitive and successful to date. Melfast serves the OEM market with approximately 400 accounts nationally.

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