Applications in Aerospace, Especially in the USA
The introduction of carbon fibers in the mid-1960’s, in the United States and elsewhere, almost simultaneously with boron fibers, provided the aerospace industry with composite materials which could compete in stiffness-critical applications with aluminum alloys. Prior to that time, the composite materials available, viz, glass fiber-reinforced polymers, were only competitive in strength-critical structures. For example, pressure vessels and rocket motor cases were major aerospace applications. Most airframe structures are stiffness-critical. The high modulus carbon fibers provided the required stiffness.