Carbon fiber is stiffer, stronger, and lighter than other fibers. It is selected for its high strength, lightweight, superior stiffness, electrical conductivity, low thermal expansion, high thermal conductivity and corrosion resistance.
The primary building blocks for carbon fiber composite materials begin with Hexcel’s HexTow® carbon fiber which is the preferred carbon fiber for the world’s most advanced aerospace and industrial applications including: Airbus A350 XWB, JSF, F18 E/F, A380, Eurofighter Typhoon, Global Express, Airbus A400M, V22 Osprey, Boeing 787, and GEnx Engines.
Hexcel is a technology leader in Intermediate Modulus fiber with an in-house Polyacrylonitrile (PAN) domestic supply and dedicated R&T facilities for both precursor and carbon fiber development. Hexcel has 45 years of experience in manufacturing carbon fiber, with manufacturing facilities in the U.S. and Europe. Hexcel manufactures under AS9100 and ISO14001 standards and provides global Customer Support.
Continuous fiber can be combined with all thermoset and thermoplastic resin systems. It is used for weaving, braiding, filament winding applications, unidirectional tapes for ATL and AFP processes and prepreg tow for fiber placement.
HexTow® carbon fiber is widely used in a number of leading brand, high performance recreational sports equipment including performance bikes, tennis racquets, fishing rods, skis, snowboards, hockey sticks, baseball bats, and golf shafts to name a few.
HexTow® standard and intermediate modulus carbon fiber is selected for winning Formula 1 cars, competition racing boats, high performance cars, and composite tooling material. In the field of Civil Engineering, HexTow® is used for concrete reinforcement and infrastructure repair. Carbon fiber is also opening new possibilities for high strength and performance in the fields of energy generation and high performance pressure vessels.
HexTow® carbon fiber from Hexcel are produced in a continuous operation in which polyacrylonitrile (PAN) precursor undergoes a series of precisely controlled processes. Exposure to extremely high temperature changes the precursor, yielding high strength-to-weight and high stiffness-to-weight properties through oxidation and carbonization. The successive surface treatment and sizing steps improve bonding and handle ability of the fiber. The resulting carbon fiber is stronger than steel, lighter than aluminium, and as stiff as titanium.
HexTow® carbon fiber is manufactured in a 2-step proprietary process that confers the resultant carbon fiber with their high strength and modulus.
Epoxy, Phenolic, Polycarbonate, Polyurethane, Polyester, Polysulfones, Cyanate Ester, Vinyl Ester, Nylon, BMI, PES, PEEK, PEKK, PES, PVC, Polyimide, Polypropylene
Epoxy, Phenolic, Polyurethane
0.8 – 1.2
0.2 – 0.4
Epoxy, Phenolic, Vinyl Ester, Polyurethane and Cyanate Ester, BMI
Weaving & Filament Winding
0.8 – 1.2
0.2 – 0.4
Epoxy, Vinyl Ester, Polyurethane
0.3 – 0.7
Prepreg Tape, Weaving, Pultrusion & Filament Winding
0.9 - 1.3
0.8 - 1.2
* Compatibility with these Matrices is considered theoretically compatible. Hexcel cannot guarantee their results.
Hexcel Recommended Storage and Shelf Life
Below are inherent properties of Hexcel’s unsized carbon fiber which have an undetermined shelf life.
To enable consumer processing of carbon fiber, proprietary sizing agents are typically applied by Hexcel, such as G, GP, and GS sizes. It has been found that the original processing characteristics of G Sized carbon fiber will essentially remain constant for at least one year from the date of manufacture while GP and GS sized carbon fibers will essentially remain constant for at least five years from date of manufacture.
Carbon fiber should be stored indoors, in original containers, under the recommended storage conditions of <95°F (35°C) and < 50% RH. Direct exposure to sunlight or rain should be avoided. Shrink wrap should not be removed until immediately prior to use.
If carbon fiber is stored at high temperatures and/or high humidity conditions, or for time frames in excess of those recommended above, difficulty in processing may result. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that carbon fiber which has stiffened as a result of extended storage should undergo a thorough evaluation of processing characteristics (i.e. resin wet out, spreadability, etc.) relative to the customer’s operation before use.