Carbon Fibre is a modern material that has a wide range of applications due to its excellent strength-weight ratio and high tensile strength. It consists of microscopic (10μm) fibres made predominantly from bonded carbon atom crystals that are aligned along the fibre to give incredible tensile strength. Several thousand of these are then bundled together into a 'tow' and used on its own or woven into fabric.
Carbon fibre if often used in composite materials to add strength and 'reinforce' the materials properties, typically with polymers. They are known as CFRP's and used extensively in the automotive industry, aerospace and for a range of sports due to the high strength-weight ratio and strong impact resistance. Although often a performance increase over aluminium and other materials, CFRP's are high in cost due to the manufacturing process required to make them.
Polymorph is a thermoplastic that can be moulded at low temperatures (62°C) and set when cooled. Through the application of hot water the granules soften and become malleable, allowing the user to mould and shape the material with their hands. Although the cost of the material is high, it allows easy 3D modelling in plastic without any expensive machinery or tooling. It can be reheated continuously to be moulded for different applications.
Applications of Polymorph are mainly at the design/prototyping stage as a way to quickly test the form, fit or ergonomics of a part due to its malleability. It is often used in DIY repairs due to its high strength when set and can be painted for use in modelling and art.
Kevlar is a trademarked material made of a para-aramid synthetic fibre, essentially incredibly strong, heat resistant, man-made fibre. The fibres are often spun into ropes or fabric sheets and commonly used as a composite additive due to its incredibly high tensile strength-weight ratio. It is this property which gives Kevlar its wide ranging applications and popularity.
Kevlar is used in stab/bullet proof vests due to its high tensile strength that allows it to absorb energy from impact. It has been found to have excellent acoustic properties for use in speaker cones and used for a range of instruments to improve their durability. Equally, its tensile strength has been used in the sports industries for tennis, fencing, running, cycling and archery.
Gore-Tex is a trademarked material developed from Teflon as a breathable, water-proof membrane for use in textiles. It's unique property is that it is impermeable one way but will allow water vapour to pass through the other. This makes it ideal for sportswear as it allows the user to stay dry whilst allowing airflow to the body and restricts wind flow in keeping the user warm.
Although mainly use for outdoor textiles, Gore-Tex has been used for medical implants as it is inert inside the body and allows tissue to regrow through the material and integrate itself within the body. A sister product known as 'Windstopper' has the same breathable properties but is not waterproof and instead elastic.
Teflon, known as Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), is a non-reactive fluoropolymer that is used in non-stick coatings due to its hydrophobic properties and high heat resistance. It also has incredibly low friction making it suited for coating mechanical bearing and sliding mechanisms in industry. A vast majority (50%) of PTFE is manufactured for use as wiring insulators and connector sockets for it's excellent dielectricproperties over all other materials.
Commonly Teflon can be found in non-stick cookware as it will repel moisture and prevent food from sticking to the base of the pan. It is often only applied as a coating and can be easily damaged reducing its affect. The non-reactive properties of Teflon equally make its suited to piping and chemical storage as a way of preventing corrosion.