— Carbon fiber is a complex topic. We can talk about it for hours and never stop. During the next weeks I’m going to create some posts about the sixth element of the periodic table but let’s start at the beginning —
Starting with the basics, we often call carbon fiber to the composite material that we see in watches and car parts, but we have to understand that the carbon fiber itself is only the raw material. The element consisting of very thin filaments of carbon atoms that gives strength to the composite that we all know. Bellow, you can see a picture of raw carbon fiber.
—However, probably most of the time and with the aim to simplify the articles and to make it more understandable, I’m going to use the term “Carbon Fiber” as the final composite material (carbon fiber + resin)—
As it is, you can only utilise it to take pictures because all the fibers are loose, it is just a very delicate weave. However, here is where the epoxy comes in place. To keep the fibers from moving in all directions and to make a solid part we need a binder, a material that glues all the fibers together, and in the case of carbon, the most used binder is epoxy. This resin has incredible mechanical properties and sticks strongly to the carbon.
There are a lot of different types of weave patterns that achieve different goals, like unidirectional, twill, plain, etc. and also diverse “areal weights” of fabrics but that is an extensive article that I would like to explain in its own the next time.
So, why do we want carbon fiber watches? Maybe because when the carbon fiber (matrix) and the epoxy (binder) is mixed together, it produces a composite material with a density of 1.6 g/cm^3 that comparing it with stainless steel 8g/cm^3 or platinum 22.5 g/cm^3, carbon fiber is an extremely light material that leads to a comfortable and unnoticeable watch to wear. Another reason could be because of the appearance; the shines that it reflects is unique and hypnotic for a person like me who is passionate about new technologies and new ways of making things.
So, what is your reason for liking carbon fiber watches?