Carbon fiber

Categories: Innovation
"Weighing half as much as aluminum yet three times stronger, carbon fiber has the highest weight to strength ratio of any material".    
Manufacture machine - close-up
1/1 | Manufacture machine - close-up

Light as a feather and stronger than steel, carbon fiber is at the forefront of advanced materials.

From sports cars and bicycles to airplanes and yachts, carbon fiber is arguably the most revolutionary material of our times.

And although carbon fiber is synonymous with all things cutting-edge, the man-made material’s origins can be found in the late 19th century. It is believed that Thomas Edison, the inventor of the incandescent light bulb, was responsible for creating the first-ever commercialized carbon fiber. In 1879, before tungsten light bulbs had been invented, Edison made the filaments for his light bulbs from cotton threads or bamboo slivers that were cut into the right shape and baked at scorching-hot temperatures. Since cotton and bamboo are made mostly of cellulose, a carbon-rich natural polymer, the filaments became carbonized and left behind a carbon copy with the original proportions of the starting material. Of course, the carbon fiber that resulted from this rudimentary process was nowhere near the quality of modern carbon fiber composites

Weighing half as much as aluminum yet three times stronger, carbon fiber has the highest weight to strength ratio of any material. With such unique properties, carbon fiber has replaced traditional alloys in certain fields with ever-increasing applications.

Instantly recognizable by its “basket-weave” formation, the specific weave or pattern of the carbon affects the performance of the material. Depending on the desired shape and function of the carbon component to be manufactured, factors like directional strength, torsional stiffness, lateral rigidity, and other specific mechanical properties are all affected by the kind of carbon weave chosen.

Hublot is one of the few watch manufactures that is able to manufacture both case and movement components from carbon fiber composites, as the material behaves differently that traditional alloys and requires different manufacturing equipment and operations.

The kind of carbon fiber used for such applications as watch components is actually a carbon fiber-reinforced polymer, where compressed sheets of woven fibers are molded into the desired shape then injected with a binding polymer matrix, usually epoxy resin.

With several proprietary developments including stone setting in carbon fiber as well as new colored carbon fiber composites, Hublot is constantly reinventing the space age material.

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