So many of our customers purchase carbon rods and tubes. They are used in kites, R/C hobbies, archery arrows, and various industrial purposes including framework for different types of projects.
But what is it, exactly? Are there different types of carbon rods and tubes? How are they made?
Carbon rods and tubes are made up of carbon fibers (mostly carbon molecules bonded together and woven or twisted to form a long fiber or fabric) that are pultruded (or pulled) through a resin that binds the fibers together (called a composite, because of the two products). The fibers are uni-directional, or all oriented in the same direction, the length of the rod or tube. This creates an especially high strength-to-weight ratio, which is what makes carbon rods and tubes popular choices for a variety of applications. The properties of carbon fiber are high tensile strength, low weight, and low thermal expansion.
The resins used on the carbon rods and tubes that Goodwinds buys are epoxy and vinylester. Vinylester resins form a chain of molecules around the carbon fibers to essentially “wrap” the rods and tubes. Epoxy, on the other hand, forms a sticky “weave” of molecules around the fibers to bind them together. The properties of the vinylester and epoxy carbon rods and tubes that Goodwinds sells are close enough that for kiting purposes, they might as well be the same. However, in many industrial purposes, the added strength of the epoxy “weave” is important. In the near future, we will be denoting the vinylester and epoxy rods and tubes as separate in our catalogue so that, should you have specific requirements, you can make an informed choice. Watch for that change soon!
Goodwinds purchases carbon rods and tubes from an American manufacturer, Diversified Structural Composites, in large quantities – we are then able to sell smaller quantities to wholesale and retail customers alike. We keep lots of carbon stock on-hand to make sure you can always get what you need, and we are able to offer attractive quantity discounts.
You might have also noticed that we offer tapered and/or wrapped carbon tubes. Tapered carbon tubes are just that – the tube changes diameters from one end to another. This is useful for archery arrows, some kites, and R/C sailboats, for example. All of the tapered tubes we sell are wrapped tubes, but not all wrapped tubes are tapered.
Wrapped carbon tubes are created by wrapping carbon fiber tape around a mandril and then binding it with epoxy or vinylester. Wrapped carbon tubes can be tapered or straight and are extremely light – the carbon wall is much thinner than that of pultruded carbon tubes and has more torsional strength. We sell two brandsof wrapped and tapered carbon: SkyShark and G-Force. Wrapped carbon tubes are used in archery arrows, kites, sailboats, and other hobby purposes.
We would love to talk to you about your carbon needs. In many cases, fiberglass rods and tubes are a lower-cost alternative to carbon, but they are heavier and more flexible. Give us a call and we’ll help you choose!