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How can you tell the difference between real carbon fiber and fake?

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  • How can you tell the difference between real carbon fiber and fake?

    On something like this:

    Seems to me the weave is too consistent. The material would have to open up at the outer edges or tighten up at the back if it was made from real cloth.

    Real or fake?
    Last edited by winchman; 01-22-2010, 10:12 AM.
    Any products mentioned in my posts have been endorsed by their manufacturer.

  • #2
    You are linking to images that are only available to those that are logged in on the other forum.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by winchman
      On something like this: Real or fake?
      -If you can see it in person, it's pretty obvious. True CF has kind of a 3D iridescent effect- well, depending on the resins used, that is.

      A lot of the fake stuff, like dash dress-up parts, or license plate frames, are printed textures, and very obvious from up close. No printing technique can fake that shimmer.

      If you can't see it in person (IE, before you order) it's a bit trickier. Cost is one clue- true CF is still pretty expensive just as raw materials, and even supposedly mass-produced CF parts would still cost quite a bit.

      If the part description shows the back or underside, it should have the same weave and texture as the "show" side- it might not be as shiny and smooth, but you'll still see the weave. A fake part won't have that, though it might just be sprayed with black paint and hard to tell from a lo-res internet photo.

      And yes, depending on the shape of the part, there can be some distortions of the weave- but don't count on that unless the corner is pretty sharp. The weave is open and flexible, and fairly easy to conform to the mold. A skilled lay-up man can keep the distortion to a minimum.

      Repost the pics and maybe we can add a bit more info.

      Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)


      • #4
        OK, I fixed the links.
        Any products mentioned in my posts have been endorsed by their manufacturer.


        • #5
          Well, the real question is "Does it matter?" It isn't a structural issue at all so why care?

          Personally I think they are fake. If they were real they wouldn't be fastened with pop rivets. Real ones would cost so much that you wouldn't cheap out on the fasteners.
          Last edited by Evan; 01-22-2010, 10:35 AM.
          Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


          • #6
            I agree with Evan what does it matter.Alistair
            Please excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease


            • #7
              What ever .,I hate the look of the stuff anyway.

              even the good stuff looks cheap and tacky looking

              don't know why anyone would want to dress up a car with this tack
              it don't impress me.....its like the old veneer of the 60's the covers chipboard on dodgy furniture.

              it just sort of wants me to do a gigantic flemmy spit.

              your right though, the stuff looks fake, even when its real

              all the best.markj
              Last edited by aboard_epsilon; 01-22-2010, 11:02 AM.


              • #8
                Well winchman, there you go, Evan and Doc says it doesn't matter if it's real or fake and Mark don't like it.

                Some people don't even like Chocolate cake


                • #9
                  Trims on some of the Beemer "Sport" saloon cars had sham C/F trim parts fitted on the Dashboards. They had to remove them cos the errections on the drivers jammed them into the seats and the interior trim took ages to dry out as the only way to release them was a bucket of cold water.

                  Regards Ian.
                  You might not like what I say,but that doesn't mean I'm wrong.


                  • #10
                    Getting back to the topic, now that the photos are posted, I suspect they're real CF.

                    In the first pic, the inner bend on the right side shows a change in the way the light reflects off the fiber- that iridescence I mentioned. If it were printed, it probably wouldn't show that.

                    Second, the inner wall on the left side- the fibers are angled to the part, as they would be if it were made of actual mat, rather than the pattern being square to the wall if it were printed..

                    Third, it's an odd shape for a printed pattern- I'm not sure they could fake a deeply concave part like that. Most of the faked parts I've seen have been relatively flat parts like interior trim panels or low hood scoops.

                    Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)


                    • #11
                      It appears to be real. But stupid. Carbon fibre as bling, the composite equivalent to "genuine billet" aluminum components.

                      Brake cooling ducts can be made effectively from the simplest of materials, there is no great strength requirement and the weight savings over plastic is zero.

                      As Evan pointed out: pop rivets? He might ass well have duct taped them on.


                      • #12
                        It looks real however there exists a fiberglass designed to look like carbon fiber available from TAP plastics. If such a material was used, there is no chance of telling without somewhat more advanced tests, I should think.


                        • #13
                          The only advanced test you need is to handle it. Carbon fibre laminates are an order of magnitude stiffer than fiberglass.

                          Here is an example. On the left is a 0.5" OD fibergass thinwall rod and on the right is a identical looking pultruded .25" carbon fibre rod that weighs about 25% of the glass rod. The two grinding wheels weigh the same.

                          Last edited by Evan; 01-22-2010, 08:10 PM.
                          Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here