Carbon Fiber vs Fiberglass

Carbon Fiber vs Fiberglass



Composite materials are generally made up of two parts, the fiber fabric and the resin, with the physical properties of the material being fiber dominant. What that means is, when the resin and fiber are combined, their performance will primarily depend upon the fiber used. Test data shows that the fiber reinforcement is the component that will carry the majority of the load within the composite. So what does that mean? Well. Simply put, what fabric you choose is going to matter.

The two most common types of fabric in the industry are fiberglass, and carbon fiber. Both have a wide assortment of usages, and are extremely versatile. How do the two weigh up against each other? While comparing the two, Keep in mind, both fiberglass and carbon fiber will vary depending on the fabric you choose. A lightweight 2 oz Fiberglass Fabric will not have the durability of the more structural 10 oz Fiberglass Fabric. Additionally, the weave of the fabric and the resin used will have a large impact on the strength and properties of your composite product. To find out more on resin selection, check out our blog post Choosing the Right Resin.


Fiberglass is the most widely used fiber in the industry, and with good reason. Fiberglass is versatile, easy to handle and relatively inexpensive compared to its counterparts. Fiberglass is perfect for every day projects that are not expected to need the added strength and durability of higher priced fabrics. Fiberglass is compatible with most resins, and comes in a multitude of patterns and weaves.

Carbon Fiber

Carbon Fiber is far and away the premium end for composite materials. With excellent ultimate tensile strength, along with the greatest compressive, flexural, and bend strength in the industry, carbon fiber is the go to on projects that need to be built tough. Carbon Fiber is ideal for projects that need that added “umph” of strength, so long as you can handle the corresponding “umph” to your wallet. With its distinctive design look, carbon fiber is a popular choice in a multitude of industries, including the automotive and aerospace sectors.

Carbon Fiber vs Fiberglass


Fiberglass Carbon Fiber Comparison So how do the two match up, against each other? For one,  Fiberglass fabric is much less efficient in it’s density, when compared to it’s composite counterparts. While fiberglass is still significantly lighter than conventional materials (wood, steel, etc) for it’s given strength, on weight critical projects carbon fiber will preform much better as a reinforcement.

Strength and Durability

Similarly, carbon fiber will outperform fiberglass in it’s tensile strength (the amount of force that needs to be placed on a fiber in order to pull it apart) and compressive strength (the amount of force that presses down on a fiber). However, fiberglass is more “durable” in that you can bring fiberglass near to it’s breaking point repeatedly without much cause for concern, unlike carbon fiber.

Mode of Failure

Additionally, once carbon fiber reaches it’s breaking point, the mode of failure is catastrophic (it will fracture/shatter the piece.) Fiberglass on the other hand, will develop cracks or deform before it breaks.


Unfortunately, due to the nature of carbon fibers, it is much more expensive compared to its counterparts. So if your project isn’t weight dependent, and won’t need the excellent strength that comes from carbon fiber, fiberglass is a great choice to go with. The accompanying table will show the differences between the two, as well as giving a relative great in characteristics as a reinforcement.

Choosing your Composite Fabric

Before you make your decision on Carbon Fiber or Fiberglass, ask yourself the following; do I want this fabrication to be more cosmetic or structural? Is the look and durability of carbon fiber worth the added cost? For specific questions on your project or fabric, contact our customer service number at 800-838-8984. You can also check out our white papers, About Reinforcement and Fundamentals of Fiberglass for further information. You can also check out Fibre Glast’s Carbon Fiber Store Page  or the Fiberglass Store Page for additional information on specific items.

Questions or advice? Let us know your opinions in the comments below. Be sure to check out our Facebook and reach out to us on Twitter @FibreGlast for more news in the world of composites.


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