CARBON FIBER GUN BARRELS
Composites offer distinct advantages as an overwrap or sleeve for a rifle barrel.
In addition to giving your gun barrel an amazing, high-tech look, you can immediately make gains in weight, stiffness, strength, durability, and customization
when choosing carbon fiber composites to overwrap your barrel.
STIFFNESS & STRENGTH
Carbon fiber composites are between 2 and 6 times more rigid than steel and aluminum for a given weight, depending on the orientation of the carbon fibers within the composite and the orientation of the stress. For example, a uni-directional carbon rod, in which all the fibers are oriented in the same direction, is much stiffer when stressed in that plane than steel or aluminum. A stiff carbon overwrap of a gun barrel will make the entire gun barrel more rigid, which improves the harmonics of the barrel, thus making your shot more precise.
Furthermore, carbon is much lighter than steel. Gun manufacturers can replace most of the steel in a gun barrel, except the inner core, with carbon to achieve a much lower weight at the same diameter than a barrel made entirely of steel.
Carbon composites have low thermal expansion, high fatigue level, and are corrosion resistant, making them ideal materials for harsh environments. Great for the outdoorsman!
As opposed to metal, wood, or even concrete, carbon fiber composites have a near neutral coefficient of thermal expansion, meaning that the material does not expand or contract as the temperature fluctuates. Carbon composites can be used in space, on Mars, on airplanes, in the Arctic, in the desert, and other temperature extremes without deforming, depending on what resin is used to bind the carbon fibers. Resins can be made to withstand remarkable temperature fluctuations and resist combustion as well.
Furthermore, carbon cools faster than steel; replacing some of the steel in a gun barrel with carbon composites will allow the entire barrel to cool faster.
Carbon fiber composites keep their mechanical properties under dynamic loads, rather than deteriorating slowly over time. This high fatigue level means that carbon composites make great components in systems with active, quantified stresses, such as repeatedly shooting a gun.
Carbon composites perform well in acidic, basic, or otherwise chemically challenging environments. Additives in the resin used can enhance corrosion resistance. The composite component of a gun barrel will not rust.
Goodwinds Composites makes carbon fiber gun barrels through a process called roll-wrapping using carbon fiber prepreg (cloth pre-impregnated with resin). We can wrap directly on a steel gun barrel or on a mandrel that will be removed, creating a carbon fiber “sleeve” that is ready to bond to the steel gun barrel.
The fabric might be woven or unidirectional and can be cut with or against the fiber direction. These flags of fabric are layered over one another during the manufacturing process to create the hoop strength, stiffness, and wall thickness
specified by the customer. The mandrel can be of any diameter and can be tapered or straight. Changes to the curing temperature, length of cure, and the compression of the laminate can also affect the outcome. Post-cure, a tube can be ground to a specific diameter, sanded for a bonding surface, notched, drilled, or milled to specification. Options are endless.
CARBON GUN BARRELS
Gun barrel manufacturers have experimented in recent years with carbon additions to rifle barrels. Goodwinds Composites has experience making stiff, beautiful carbon gun barrels at production levels.