5 Common Applications for Laminated Sheets
Laminated sheets are made of a substrate such as fiberglass cloth, carbon fiber cloth, canvas, linen, and paper mixed with a resin. Phenolic, epoxy, melamine, or polyester resins are used in the prepreging process. The prepreg is pressed under high heat and pressure to form a thermoset laminate. These sheets have a multitude of uses spread across industrial, automotive, testing, medical, sports and many other industries.
A full-sized sheet is often fabricated into other parts such as bushings, gears, bearings, or spacers. These parts are designed to use in welding machines, oil & gas equipment, and other insulation needs; they provide the strength and insulation needed for these applications. The material can be processed by CNC machining, laser cutting, or water jet cutting to create precise parts for unique applications. The sheets can also be cut to size into small, thin panels, that are used in printed circuit boards, or large, thick panels used for wear plates in steel mills. These panels can withstand substantial wear and tear.
Very thin sheets of G-10/FR4 are used under the dashboard in cars and helicopters to separate the electrical components. Laminated carbon fiber is also used for interior design in automobiles. Carbon fiber is available in a variety of different weaves include plain, twill, and geometric patterned weaves. A block of phenolic laminated canvas can be machined into a carburetor riser for cars, while thin carbon fiber sheets can be machined into reed valves for snowmobiles and motorcycles. A piece like this will last for an amazingly long time. Laminated sheets are also used as backing plates to mount hardware in boats.
G-10/FR4 and G-11/FR5 are perfect for electrical environments due to their dielectric insulating properties. They are also used as materials in labs for testing. Thin sheets of G-10 are a component in vibration testing. Static dissipative coating on top of G-10 material is used to provide static-controlled environments for electrical testing.
One of the medical uses can be found in stethoscopes. The flat diaphragm is formed from a flat, thin, rigid plastic disk of epoxy fiberglass plastic. Another use is with X-rays and MRI machines. There is a plate of epoxy-based carbon fiber under the bed to create a safe environment for the patients using the machines.
Laminated sheets can be made in many different colors and layered or burled to create beautiful and unique patterns which develop a decorative material for knife handles and gun grips. Many kinds of laminates including G-10, G-11, carbon fiber, canvas, linen, and paper are used for these applications. Carbon fiber can also be used, in the form of thin tubes, to make arrows for hunting. Thicker carbon fiber tubes make up the structure for pop-up hunting blinds.
These five common applications for laminated sheets are only a handful of the plentiful ways to use the materials. Sheets are versatile enough to be used as large panels but can also be machined into application-specific parts. The substrates and resins combined to make these laminates produce very strong products that will last a significant amount of time regardless of the environment.