Bigger, Taller Stronger: Realising the Potential of Carbon Fibre – Learn about Carbon Fibre Composites in Design

Carbon fibre-reinforced polymers (CFRPs, or simply ‘carbon fibre’) have become the material of choice where high strength-to-weight ratios and rigidity are demanded. Here are the reasons why carbon fibre-reinforced polymers (CFRPs, or simply ‘carbon fibre’) can have greater lifetime savings.

Carbon fibre is a relatively expensive technology, compared with traditional building materials like steel, aluminium or timber. However, its flexural strength, lightness and performance mean that it’s worth investigating the material’s strategic use.

Take, for example, a sports car. Yes, you could build everything from the springs up out of carbon fibre, and while it would be a light and durable car, it wouldn’t be a comfortable ride. Metal is used overwhelmingly for the suspension springs themselves, for instance, because steel’s flexibility makes it a better candidate for this role. Better to make the panels and interior out of stiff, light carbon fibre and get the full advantage from carbon there. Together they create an overall lighter, stronger and more comfortable car.

What designers are starting to realise is that introducing carbon fibre elements into design has the potential to create greater lifetime savings and innovation possibilities that quickly offset the higher cost of CFRPs.

That lighter, stronger sports car now uses less fuel, has a faster 0-100 and a higher top speed. It’s performing in ways that are only possible with smart design and the right application of advanced materials.

Just in the same way that FRPs themselves take advantage of multiple materials’ properties to create a better whole, strategically combining FRPs with other materials means it’s possible to change up the construction and design industries, realising new opportunities from lighter and taller office blocks to more durable, longer-lasting roads.

The biggest limit to design capability is your materials. When the first steel bridges were being built, engineers designed them with the same shape as older wooden bridges, since they didn’t yet fully understand steel’s superior performance over timber.


Lighter, more durable, longer lasting and with a higher stiffness-to-weight ratio, it’s easy to see why carbon fibre is making its way into the construction industry, where taller, bigger projects put higher demands on traditional building materials like steel, concrete and timber. Download our full ebook to learn more about the benefits of carbon fibre-reinforced polymers.

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