Carbon fiber and Fiberglass are two popular materials in making parts for RC planes and multicopters including quadcopters. The choice of whether to use carbon or fiberglass in your application depends on many factors. Here we have some of the most important factors to consider which material we should use.
Carbon fiber is lighter than fiberglass, it’s 70% lighter than steel, 40% lighter than Aluminum. The nature of carbon fiber is very light, rigid, and strong. This is why most weight-critical performance products use carbon fiber. That’s why Carbon fibre is a far more popular choice of material for mini quad frames.
Strength vs Rigidity
It’s also known as stiffness. Carbon fiber and fiberglass are both very strong, but Carbon fiber is more rigid. Carbon fiber is about 3 times stiffer than steel and aluminum for a given weight.
In applications where a small amount of flexibility is allowed, we should use carbon fiber. Fiberglass is better suited to extreme flex patterns, while carbon fiber has a relatively small flex window.
The shape of Carbon fiber doesn’t deteriorating slowly over time. That means the shape of carbon fibre doesn’t change when consistent and constant force is applied.
Fibreglass however being more flexible, it means that glass-fiber typically has a higher ultimate breaking point than a similarly shaped carbon fiber product, therefore having higher strength-to-weight ratio. In general it is a “tougher” material. The incredible rigidity of carbon makes it less capable of enduring certain abuses than fiberglass.
As opposed to most other materials, carbon fiber has a negative coefficient of thermal expansion which means they don’t expand or shrink as much as fibreglass when the temperature changes. This is a desirable quality for applications that have to operate in a wide range of temperatures .
Fiberglass composites are insulators, which means they do not respond to an electric field and resist the flow of electric charge. Fiberglass composites are very radiolucent, which means they allow radiation to pass through it freely. This makes fiberglass rods a useful material for antennas.
Fiberglass is much cost effective. Long strands of carbon fibers are very difficult and expensive to manufacture, while fiberglass processes much easier. As a result, fiberglass is considerably less expensive than carbon fiber. Fiberglass composites are less expensive than carbon composites in most cases.