Defense Industry Waking Up To Uses Of Carbon Fiber

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In an interview with, Markus Kreuzer, CEO of Carbon Team Germany talked about the benefits and uses of carbon and glass fiber in making defense systems.

DW: What are the defense applications of carbon fiber and glass fiber products? Can you describe some specific defence products where each of these is used?

Markus Kreuzer: Carbon fiber is used for armoring, bullet-proofing, and providing non-flammableroof- or side-protection for land-, air- or sea-systems. It offers protection against heat or open fire less weight in addition with maximum stiffness.

DW: What are memory carbon plates and what could be their applications for the defence industry?

Markus Kreuzer: The plates can be made in 2D- and 3D-shapes by heating it at approximately 190°C and remain they inthe shape after cooling down. The perfect application for rapid prototyping is thickness between 0.5mmto 4.0mm. They are available instandard carbonfiber as well as in bullet proof-materials such as helmets.

DW: How extensively is carbon fiber used in the defense sector?

Markus Kreuzer: It is still coming up. Engineers are still learning about the benefits of carbon and glass.

DW: What current materials would carbon fiber and glass fiber products substitute in typical defence equipment and what are their majoradvantages?

Markus Kreuzer: Typically glass fiber and carbonplates, in any thickness and format, are prepared by CNC. Major advantages are that carbon is 80% lighter than steel with maximumstrength, it saves energy/fuel to move the system and carbon is 400 times harder than aluminum. Carbon has specific applications like ensuring bullet proofing. Glass fiber is very cheap but is extremely heavy weight. It is sometimes used as an alternative to carbon which is radiolucent meaning you cannot see products madeby carbon with x-ray. Carbon fiber products are corrosion-resistant. For example, hydrofluoric acid ( the most aggressive fluid on this planet), saltwater/seawater would neverweaken that material. Carbonfiber products do have lessvibrations and it does neither shrink by getting cold nor expand by getting hot. It is also electrical resistant.

DW: What kind of trends do you foresee emerging in the market?

Markus Kreuzer: Engineers have started testing and using carbon fibers, they learn fast and are beginning to understand the benefits for their products.The trend will be: less weight, safe operating costs, higher stiffness and longer lifetime of a product.

DW: Please describe your company’s products in the carbon fiber andglass fiber area and their possible defence applications?

Markus Kreuzer: We produce glass and carbon fiber products and plates form 0.2mm up to 30mm in thickness, maximum Format 2600x1500mm Rods and Tubes up to 6000mm length in diameters up to 80mm.

DW: What are your glass and carbon fiber products used to make?

Markus Kreuzer: Unfortunately, I can’t discuss that due to the NDA. But applications include drones development.

DW: What kind of manufacturing facilities do you have and whatis your production capacity for various products?

Markus Kreuzer: We have productionlines for rods and tubes by Pullwinding and Pulltrusion. No capacity limits at the moment.

DW: Could you tell us about the pressure vessel that your company is currently developing? What are its applications?

Markus Kreuzer: We developed pressure vessels for an air lines (fire-extinguisher, 2.0 Liter), Formula1-Teams.

DW: Who would be your major competitors in the defence sector concerning carbon fiber and glass fiber?

Markus Kreuzer: There are competitors like Thyssen-Krupp, they are “Goliaths”, and we are “David”.