So you want to use a modern composite in your structure.  How do you choose between carbon and fiberglass?

There are many factors that come into play, but the big ones are price, weight, conduction, and signal interference.

Let’s start with price: fiberglass is much less expensive than carbon.  For instance, one solid 1/4-inch diameter round carbon rod at 48″ long will cost you $12.49 at www.goodwinds.com.  But a solid 1/4-inch diameter round fiberglass rod at 48″ long will cost a mere $1.69.

However, fiberglass is much heavier than carbon.  That same 1/4-inch diameter carbon rod weighs 60.3 grams (2.13 oz) while the fiberglass rod weighs 78.5 grams (2.8 oz).  That can be a significant difference when you’re building some that is meant to fly, or that the rest of the structure will have to support.

Carbon is mildly conductive, but fiberglass is not conductive at all.  Furthermore, if you’re building an antenna, fiberglass is radiolucent, meaning that it allows radiation to pass through it freely.  No signal interference from fiberglass (carbon will interfere with your signal) makes it an ideal composite for your antenna.

Would you like more information about carbon and fiberglass rods and tubes and the properties of each?  Visit www.gwcomposites.com!