The science behind wheeled sports
The science behind wheeled sports

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

The science behind wheeled sports

3.1 The structure of carbon fibre

There is a reason that a material like carbon fibre can be strong and lightweight at the same time. It is related to the atoms that make up these materials, and the way that these atoms bond together.

The next activity introduces some ideas about the physical structure of material, using the example of carbon fibre.

Activity 4 Properties of materials

(The estimated time needed to complete this activity is 40 minutes.)

Material structure [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

Please note: this activity may take a few seconds to download.

Comment

The main points from the activity were:

  • The number of atoms that any individual atom can bind to depends on the type of atom
    • hydrogen atoms can bind to, at most, one other atom, oxygen to two atoms and carbon to four atoms.
  • Atoms in molecules bind to each other to make a self-contained individual particle.
  • Atoms in solid materials bind to each other to make a continuous three-dimensional structure.
  • The properties of solid materials depend on the type of atoms in the material and its internal structure: i.e. the way that atoms are bound inside the material.
  • Important material properties include density, strength, flexibility and hardness.
  • Graphite, diamond and carbon fibre are three different types of solid carbon material. The difference in their properties arises because of the difference in the carbon bonds within each material.
S172_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has over 40 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus