Science, Tech, Math › Science Carbon Fiber Manufacturing Companies Carbon fibers are used to form composites employed in making clothing and gear Share Flipboard Email Print PragasitLalao / Getty Images Science Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Basics Chemical Laws Molecules Periodic Table Projects & Experiments Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Famous Chemists Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Todd Johnson Science Expert B.S., Business Management, University of Colorado Boulder Todd Johnson has worked on the development, commercialization, and sales sides of the composites industry since 2004. He also writes about the industry. our editorial process Todd Johnson Updated July 25, 2019 Carbon fibers are composed mostly of carbon molecules and are manufactured to be 5 to 10 micrometers in diameter. They can be combined with other materials to form composites used in the production of clothing and equipment. In recent years, carbon fiber has become a popular material for manufacturing clothing and equipment for people whose professions and hobbies demand high durability and support from their gear, including astronauts, civil engineers, car and motorcycle racers, and combat soldiers New technologies and producers of this modern, effective fabric have emerged in the market, providing raw carbon fiber at cheaper and cheaper prices. Each producer specializes in a particular use for their brand of carbon fiber or carbon fiber composite. Here is an alphabetical list of manufacturers of raw carbon fiber that use reinforced polymer composites: Hexcel Founded in 1948, Hexcel produces PAN carbon fibers in the U.S. and Europe and is highly successful in the aerospace market. Hexcel carbon fibers, sold under the trade name HexTow, can be found in many advanced aerospace composite components, though the company has not branched out to a more practical ground utility of their product. Carbon fibers have recently begun to replace aluminum in aerospace engineering because of their strength and resistance to galvanic corrosion that occurs in space. Mitsubishi Rayon Co. Ltd. Mitsubishi Rayon Co. (MRC), a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings, produces PAN filament carbon fibers used in composite applications where light weight and high strength are required. The U.S. subsidiary, Grafil, manufactures carbon fiber under the Pyrofil trade name. Although MRC's product can be used for aerospace engineering, it is more commonly used in commercial and recreational equipment and gear, such as motorcycle jackets and gloves, and in carbon-based sports gear, such as golf clubs and baseball bats. Nippon Graphite Fiber Corp. Based in Japan, Nippon has been manufacturing pitch-based carbon fibers since 1995 and has made the market considerably more affordable. Nippon carbon fibers can be found in many fishing rods, hockey sticks, tennis rackets, golf club shafts, and bicycle frames because of the increased durability of the composite and the relative inexpensiveness of the product. Solvay (formerly Cytec Engineered Materials) Solvay, which acquired Cytec Engineered Materials (CEM) in 2015, makes fibers under the trade names of Thornel and ThermalGraph. It is a manufacturer of continuous and discontinuous carbon fibers, made from both pitch- and PAN-based processes. Continuous carbon fibers have high conductivity and are well suited for aerospace applications. Discontinuous carbon fibers, when combined with thermoplastics, are well suited for injection molding. Toho Tenax Toho Tenax manufactures its carbon fiber using the PAN precursor. This carbon fiber is commonly used in automotive, aerospace, sporting goods, and other fields because of its relatively low costs but high quality and durability. Professional motorcycle racers and skiers often wear gloves made with Toho Tenax carbon fibers. The company also has supplied materials used in the construction of astronauts' spacesuits. Toray Toray manufactures carbon fibers in Japan, the United States, and Europe. Using a PAN-based method, Toray carbon fiber is made in various modulus types. Higher modulus carbon fiber is often more expensive, but less is required because of the increased physical properties, making these products popular in all fields despite the higher cost. Zoltek Carbon fiber manufactured by Zoltek, a subsidiary of Toray, can be found in numerous applications including aerospace, sporting goods, and industrial areas such as construction and safety gear. Zoltek claims to manufacture the lowest-cost carbon fiber on the market. PANEX and PYRON are trade names for Zoltek carbon fibers.