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How Carbon Fiber Came Into Existence

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A lot of us do not know the name Roger Bacon or even have any idea who he is. It is with pride that this article would like to introduce the man behind the significant discovery of carbon fiber and how almost every one in our generation is benefitted from its existence. After all, he might be considered as the Father of modern carbon fibers discovery. The idea of this discovery is far from creating the most exclusive and luxurious cars or air planes. Rather, the idea that might flicker behind the brilliant mind of Roger Bacon is that there was a need back then to have something to strengthen the parts used for missiles. Thus, a reinforcement material is needed and no metal can better play the role than carbon.

However, some claim that the real Father of this material is really Thomas Alva Edison. It was believed that as early as 1879, the famous scientist manufactured his first carbon filament that he could use to work well with his electric lamp invention. But in our modern world, we still stand by Roger Bacon who still holds the title.

The first set of carbon fibers produced by Roger Bacon in 1958 was made of rayon strands processed into carbonization. This procedure lacked efficiency since the fibers produced displayed poor stiffness and low strength with only about twenty percent of carbon produced. It is not only until 1960's that a new carbonization method was used with the use of PAN or polyacrylonitrile as the base material. This was led by Dr. Akio Shindo, and the process produced a whopping thirty five percent improvement when producing carbon than the previous process.

One of the first companies that realized the magnificent strength displayed by this material is the British company, Rolls Royce motor cars. With its strength and other good qualities the material displayed, the company took advantage of this fiber and made their way successfully penetrated the American market with their luxury cars especially the RB-211.

With the continuous effort to make the carbon fiber production more effective, by 1970's, another experimental work was made. The purpose of this experimentation is to find better solutions to produce more carbons in the process of using other raw materials. Petroleum pitch was used then after its derivation from oil processing, for this method. The result was successful! Eighty five percent of the carbon was produced using this procedure and the fibers proved to have magnificent flexural strength.

Since then, we have seen the many applications of the fibers in our modern lives in almost any fields. It has been an important part used in transportation, aero and marine transport, construction, electrical and electronics, corrosion-resistant, and appliances and business equipments. Nowadays, we see the surge of the demand for this material in producing and manufacturing sporting goods as well like fishing rods and reels for fishing; golf club shafts, face plates and club heads for golf; rackets for tennis, badminton and squash; and other significant sporting tools like base ball bats, skis, archery and Japanese-type bows, bamboo swords, table tennis, billiards and gate-balls.

As our lives unfold yet another era of great discoveries, we wish to think that carbon fiber uses should reach its ultimate level. Thanks to the brilliant minds of these selfless men for whom we credit the honor.
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