Comparing carbon fiber tube with aluminum tube

Measurement of carbon fiber and aluminum

Here are the definitions used to compare the different properties of the two materials:

Modulus of elasticity = the “stiffness” of the material. The ratio of stress to strain in a material. The slope of the stress-strain curve of a material in its elastic region.
Ultimate Tensile Strength = The maximum stress a material can withstand before breaking.
Density = mass per unit volume of material.
Specific stiffness = elastic modulus divided by material density. Used to compare materials with different densities.
Specific Tensile Strength = Tensile Strength divided by Material Density.
With this information in mind, the table below compares carbon fiber and aluminum.

Note: Many factors can affect these numbers. These are generalizations; not absolute measurements. For example, different carbon fiber materials are available with higher stiffness or strength, often at a trade-off in terms of reductions in other properties.

Measurements                                          Carbon Fiber           Aluminum                     Carbon/Aluminum Comparison
Elastic Modulus (E) GPa                                70                                 68.9                                            100%
Tensile strength (σ) MPa                              1035                              450                                              230%
Density (ρ) g/cm3                                             1.6                               2.7                                                 59%
Specific stiffness (E/ρ)                                   43.8                             25.6                                                171%
Specific tensile strength (σ/ρ)                        647                             166                                                 389%


The upper shows that the specific tensile strength of carbon fiber is about 3.8 times that of aluminum, and the specific stiffness is 1.71 times that of aluminum.

Comparison of thermal properties of carbon fiber and aluminum
Two other properties that show the difference between carbon fiber and aluminum are thermal expansion and thermal conductivity.

Thermal expansion describes the change in dimensions of a material as the temperature changes.

Measurements                                     Carbon Fiber                          Aluminum                       Aluminum/Carbon Comparison
Thermal Expansion                                  2 in/in/°F                           13 in/in/°F                                   6.5

Measurements                                          Carbon Fiber                       Aluminum                          Aluminum/Carbon Comparison
Thermal Expansion                                    2 in/in/°F                                 13 in/in/°F                                   6.5

Post time: May-31-2022

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