Prepreg carbon fiber is a vital component in composite manufacturing used in critical applications in the scientific, medical, automation, automotive and marine industries, among others. The material comprises carbon fiber fabric impregnated with a resin system. The resin system is designed to cure under specific conditions to ensure optimal performance and structural integrity.
However, over time, the resin can lose effectiveness and become expired, according to DragonPlate a company that specializes in engineered carbon fiber composite sheets. Variations in the manufacturing process can result in prepreg that does not meet the required quality standards and is labeled as off-spec.
DragonPlate hopes to raise awareness among composite buyers regarding the potential risks of off-spec and expired prepreg carbon fiber materials.
Purchasing expired, or off-spec prepreg carbon fiber at discounted prices can be tempting, but DragonPlate says these materials pose potential risks to the user and consumer. The risks include compromised mechanical properties, reduced structural integrity, increased delamination potential and decreased overall performance of the finished composite products.
As a result, the reliability and safety of the end products may be compromised, leading to potential failures or reduced performance.
Determining if prepreg is expired or off-spec can be challenging when some suppliers do not provide specs or expiration dates. Consumers, engineers and manufacturers should be vigilant when sourcing and selecting materials for their composite applications.