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What Is Carbon Fiber Skinning?

04.18.22 | Industry News

The benefits of carbon fiber products cannot be overstated. This space-age composite qualitatively exceeds the properties and uses of other highly respected materials, such as aluminum and titanium, in terms of structural strength and lightweightness. Unfortunately, carbon fiber is sometimes difficult to come by, and is not a cheap material so its uses are often reserved for very specific purposes.

In other words, it is often impractical to use composites for products or parts that do not necessarily benefit from carbon fiber´s incredible properties. However, the recognizable woven pattern and its deep black colors have a special aesthetic appeal that many associate with high-quality or premium products, making it an attractive texture to imitate as it adds to the subjective value of certain items and sometimes even grants added structural benefits.

Many have tried to replicate the looks of carbon fibers using vinyl sheets and other common materials for wrapping. However, these tend to look fake, chip away easily, and show signs of deterioration very quickly. That's why many shops have adopted carbon fiber veneer as their go to material for performing carbon fiber skinning.

Skinning or wrapping is the process of changing the look of a product or piece with a thin layer of protective material. This is usually done to enhance the appearance of your product, but can also add certain protective properties depending on the material. As a wrapping technique, carbon fiber skinning deserves its own chapter in the books for being such a unique process that produces such distinctive results. It delivers eye catching textures, and adds a level of protection and strength only carbon fiber can offer, going way beyond a mere cosmetic improvement.

In the automotive industry, it is not uncommon to see cars with parts made of carbon fiber, especially the hood, skirts, bumpers and spoilers. However, there are other parts that do not benefit from the properties of carbon fiber, or that do not make sense in terms of cost-effectiveness. Car owners choose to use carbon fiber veneer to wrap these parts and give their vehicles a uniform and smooth look. Many also choose to apply carbon fiber veneer to the car interior to add a polished and modern look to their ride. The way carbon fiber is woven reminds some of muscle tissue which represents strength, others associate it with the glamour of high performance racing, which is not far from being true.

A skillfully done wrap using high-quality carbon fiber veneer is impossible to differentiate from a solid piece or part made from carbon fiber.

One great advantage of using carbon fiber veneer is that it protects your parts from abrasion, scratches, and even UV damage. Among the most common objections people have for wrapping or skinning their vehicles, is that UV rays tend to damage the finish over time. In order to wrap a part or product with carbon fiber veneer, it must be combined with a resin that bonds carbon fibers with the part. Using the incorrect resins might cause the finish to degrade over time. In order to choose the right sheets and resins, we recommend contacting us to find out which product will provide the best protection and performance for your project.

Other products in the outdoor sports industry also benefit from carbon fiber skinning. Many hunting enthusiasts enhance the look and feel of their instruments by adding carbon fiber veneer, which also protects them from the elements without adding extra weight or bulk. In many cases, carbon fiber veneer adds strength to the part or instrument being treated, offering great support and structural resistance to vital pieces.

This is especially true for board sports. Wrapping a skateboard deck with premium carbon fiber veneer changes the board´s properties, making it slightly more rigid yet resistant to tensile forces, without the problems associated with solid carbon fiber boards such as delamination or microcracks.

However, the versatility of carbon fiber veneer does not stop there. Many manufacturers have caught on with market preferences and now offer incredibly practical accessories cleverly wrapped in carbon fiber. We can find wallets, phone cases, suitcases and other consumer goods that take advantage of the properties of this incredible material, adding aesthetic value to their high-quality products.

If you have a project that requires high-quality and durable carbon fiber veneer, or want to know more about the properties of this incredible material, get in touch with the sales team at Protech Composites. We provide carbon fiber sheets in various thicknesses depending on the properties of your product and their uses, and can guide you through our product line so you can find exactly what you need for your project.