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Old 01-03-2010, 09:58 AM   #1
Wamp
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Default Carbon Fiber Danger

11 pages of safety, sad stories and not mention of how bad CF is.
Last night I was looking at used mSR tail booms for other projects, and did some destructive testing. They are low grade stuf. I got up in the middle of the night with the itches. No big deal.

But Carbon Fiber is nasty stuff.

Easton who makes CF arrow shafts provides a warning sheet with shafts and their brochures also gives specific warnings.

The stuff is carciogenic as I understand it, but they do not tell you this.

At the indoor archery range and shop, were my wife practices,there are vacumes with special filters were the shafts are cut. Cleaning up dammaged shafts on the range
is a priority.

Now I see CF frames and parts for RC and no warnings.

Think I'll go metal. Chris
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Old 01-03-2010, 10:27 AM   #2
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Thanks for the info on CF...Good tip and with that in mind, people (heli people) should take the needed precautions when cutting or filing CF material.
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Old 01-03-2010, 07:48 PM   #3
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Carbon fiber dust is no more dangerous to your health than fiberglass dust. It causes temporary skin irritation that goes away in a day or so. Some people are more sensitive to the irritation than others. It seems that after a while you build up a tolerance to it. Breathing the dust should be avoided especially if you have any respiratory issues but there are no known permanent harmful effects for occasional exposure. You can google for the MSDSs for carbon fiber or graphite fiber. The corporate lawyers make sure the info on the MSDSs are accurate. Carbon fiber dust is hazardous to electronics and electrical devices because it is conductive. The dust is very fine and will find its way into circuits and will short them out. This is probably why people get so freaked out about the dust.
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Old 01-04-2010, 09:06 AM   #4
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Thanks, had not considered cf as a conductor, but understand it inhibits RF.
Easton advises to look at <@www.bsafe.ws> or call 877-inf-etp. I never did. Could be it's more about flinging arrows safely.
I am thinking that CF behaves like asbestos. It seems the fibers (perhaps attached to each other) behave like porqupine quills. No fun to get out, and may travel on their own. Chris
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Old 01-05-2010, 01:00 AM   #5
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Carbon fiber dust is no more dangerous to your health than fiberglass dust. It causes temporary skin irritation that goes away in a day or so.
Are you kidding me?? Glass fiber is glass, which is silica which causes silicosis fibrosis when inhaled. The epoxy matrix that most fiber reinforced plastics used is also toxic to the lungs. The epoxy matrix used is also prone to breaking into sharp edge, so watch out for that too!

I addition, I've also read warnings on CF measuring equipment never to let them contact electronic devices or worse, high voltage equipment. It is conductive and can cause short circuits or electrocution.
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Old 01-05-2010, 07:46 AM   #6
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More glad all the time I'm going alum frame. I belive CF is more dangerous than fiberglass. Fiber glass is not innocuous. CF like asbestos is harder to expell.
How 'bout a nice dose of portland cement? I don't mean to be an alarmest, but we all should take care. Chris
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Old 01-05-2010, 08:42 AM   #7
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I think everyone is jumping the gun on this one. Cured carbon fiber is a safe substance. You're only worry is really breaking it and getting a couple slivers in your arm/hand. They can work inwards and make for some painful nasty surgeries. If you are cutting it, then a good venthilation system, mask, and safety goggles are must as any type of dust inhalation is a bad idea, especially when it's made up of little balls of extremely sharp fragmented material and strong chemicals.

As far as the cancer risk? That's really more to do with un-cured carbon fiber cloth and the chemicals used to treat it.

So, whole cured carbon fiber = no problems.
broken carbon fiber = watch your fingers and handle carefully
cutting carbon fiber = have as much safety equipment in place as spraying 2 part auto grade clear coat
making carbon fiber panels = these people wear full protection, head to toe
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Old 01-05-2010, 02:19 PM   #8
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timewerx,

I didn't say that neither were harmless. I said that carbon fiber and fiberglass were on the same level. Carbon fiber is not a dangerous carcinogen like asbestos but you can suffer ill health effects from CHRONIC exposure to breathing the dust. Occasional exposure causes irritation but is harmless. If you don't believe me, read the manufacturers' MSDSs for the materials.
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Old 01-08-2010, 07:14 AM   #9
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Long after determining asbestos danger, we kept using it, even in schools. I understand some people used it to filter their potable water, for generations, with no ill effects. Encapsulated, even with latex paint, I don't worry. It is however friable, I consider that, bad news.

Here we are playing with CF. Working it, fastening it, crashing it and disposing of it definitively contains an element of risk.

With all the 'warnings' posted every were about the most inane things, I am at a loss to explaine why I see no warnings in modeling about CF.
I'm not a dremel kind a guy, but how many floks hit CF with one to work it?
Puff = s risk!
I do not want to be knee jerk here, just safe. Chris
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Old 01-08-2010, 10:16 AM   #10
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Every material has its dangers, including woods, plastics and aluminum. Our batteries pose hazards on several different levels, the solid materials all have their hazards, the glues and adhesives have dangers, the greases and oils and so forth.

We can really get carried away here if we want, so let's look at this from a modeler's standpoint. First of all, you don't want any of this stuff in your body whether inhaled, ingested, or otherwise. The good news is we can avoid that with a little bit of prep and common sense. Second, take a look at the exposure levels that we, as modelers, are facing in our shops and work areas. Realistically, our risks are quite small. If we worked with this stuff 40 hours a week, then things would be different.

So, from a common sense approach to working with any material, do the following:
  • Plan your work; then work your plan. Know what you are going to do and what you will need before starting.
  • Know the risks associated with the materials you are working with. Heed the warnings on the product's labels. It is a best practice to have MSDS sheets on all of the materials that you are working with, or have in storage.
  • Wear eye protection anytime you are working. In my shop, safelty glasses are mandatory for anyone crossing the threshold of the door.
  • When using adhesives, glues, greases, oils or other chemicals, wear gloves to avoid contact with the substance.
  • Do not inhale fumes from chemicals, adhesives or glues. Ventilate the area before use of these products.
  • Do not inhale airborn particles from any material you are working with. Use an appropriate and proper fitting dust mask.
  • When leaving the work area, always wash your hands before doing any other activity, including using the restroom.
  • Leave food and beverages out of your work area(s). Particles can find their ways into your body from these sources.
  • Always clean your tools after use.
  • Keep your work area clean as you progress. If you have dust and debris laying about, then take a moment to clean the area befor proceding.
  • Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to clean up harmful dusts.
  • Wash your work clothes seperate from other laundry.
  • When finished with a project, thoroghly clean the work area.
  • Use common sense! It is your best defense.
So, back to the OT on carbon fiber. If you are using carbon fiber on your heli, then take a few precautions when handling and working with the material. If you are cutting, sanding, or otherwise altering a cured carbon fiber part, then wear safety glasses, gloves and have a plan for clean up once you are finished. If using a power tool on the material, then wear a proper fitting dust mask to avoid inhalation of the material. Avoid sharp edges and splinters. If you have a sharp edge, then break the edge with a file or (fine) sandpaper.

In my opinion, the most dangerous situation of handling carbon fiber (as a modeler) is post crash when you have a part that has been cracked or is broken. There will be splinters and sharp edges to avoid in this situation. Again, it is all common sense, so take care when handling the heli and its broken pieces, and everything will be fine.

In the end, if you don't feel like a material is safe, then avoid using it. For myself, carbon fiber is a welcome material on my helis and in my shop!
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Old 01-08-2010, 05:26 PM   #11
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Thanks this is a great post.
I have worked in environs were it was mandatory to leave all but your birthday suit on site. Go across the painted line with out proper gear deployed, fired! Escorted out that minute!
As a winter hobbiest cloistered indoors with windows closed, in family living space, what am I doing?
Yes CF has it's place. I plan to use it carefully.
Of note the natural wood that bothers me the most is, hands down, is cedar.
I know other guys that have trouble with redwood or chestnut. Locust nota so nice either. Thanks again for a coherent post. Chris
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Old 01-12-2010, 03:59 PM   #12
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Let me add the perspective of a long-term health & safety professional to this topic. I am a Certified Industrial Hygienist (a CIH) and have 32 years of experience assessing workplace hazards involving exposures to toxic and/or hazardous substances.

First of all, what we hobbyists refer to as "carbon fiber" is actually a structural material made up of carbon fibers encapsulated in polystyrene plastic, analogous to how "fiberglass" is made, only using glass fibers instead of carbon fibers in the matrix. Neither glass fiber nor carbon fiber has the carcinogenic properties of asbestos fibers, but inhaling glass fibers in quantity is known to be harmful, and hazardous properties of carbon fiber are currently unknown and are still under investigation. Actually, inhaling particles of any sort or quantity is not good for your health, whether it be from natural or man-made sources.

My advice to all hobbyists is not to be afraid of carbon fiber or fiberglass, but nonetheless avoid inhaling the dust when you cut it, drill it, or Dremel-grind it. Either work outside in the yard, or in the garage or your workshop where there is plenty of fresh air. Get a N-99 disposable dust respirator from your hardware store and use it properly for the most lung protection. Having plenty of fresh air also applies to gluing or painting, by the way, because solvent vapors are also hazardous to your health and can cause a fire hazard near ignition sources.

Much of the current hoopla over "carbon fiber" is really misplaced. It all started with carbon nanotubes, buckyballs and other sub-microscopic nano-particles that laboratory researchers are still trying to find uses for.
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Old 01-12-2010, 06:33 PM   #13
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I was happy Bucky (met him) got some recognition on the peridoic chart. The best thing you said, here, is no one knows. Best protection is positive displacement air gear and a place to clean up, before ya have to take it off. Water ship down. Thanks Chris
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Old 01-20-2010, 07:23 AM   #14
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Old trick, this works on cactus spines, apply duct tape over night, or longer. Often the splinter comes out with the tape or at least easier. C
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Old 04-22-2010, 05:29 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrather1 View Post
Let me add the perspective of a long-term health & safety professional to this topic. I am a Certified Industrial Hygienist (a CIH) and have 32 years of experience assessing workplace hazards involving exposures to toxic and/or hazardous substances.

First of all, what we hobbyists refer to as "carbon fiber" is actually a structural material made up of carbon fibers encapsulated in polystyrene plastic, analogous to how "fiberglass" is made, only using glass fibers instead of carbon fibers in the matrix. Neither glass fiber nor carbon fiber has the carcinogenic properties of asbestos fibers, but inhaling glass fibers in quantity is known to be harmful, and hazardous properties of carbon fiber are currently unknown and are still under investigation. Actually, inhaling particles of any sort or quantity is not good for your health, whether it be from natural or man-made sources.

My advice to all hobbyists is not to be afraid of carbon fiber or fiberglass, but nonetheless avoid inhaling the dust when you cut it, drill it, or Dremel-grind it. Either work outside in the yard, or in the garage or your workshop where there is plenty of fresh air. Get a N-99 disposable dust respirator from your hardware store and use it properly for the most lung protection. Having plenty of fresh air also applies to gluing or painting, by the way, because solvent vapors are also hazardous to your health and can cause a fire hazard near ignition sources.

Much of the current hoopla over "carbon fiber" is really misplaced. It all started with carbon nanotubes, buckyballs and other sub-microscopic nano-particles that laboratory researchers are still trying to find uses for.
Nice writeup. Thanks for that.
Rick
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:17 AM   #16
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I don't believe that carbon fiber is safe by any means... Neither is life for that matter. We all can do the best we can to minimize risks to our health though.... We have developed all these crazy things in which we have no idea what the long term repercussions will be by using them, but take the safe road on all of them or you might end up with chemical pnomnia or worse... I just obtained a bunch of pre-preg CF from a shop that manufactures satellite dishes for the military. I went in that shop and no one was wearing masks or any protective wear of any kind. I said "You must be high all day long" he said "we don't even notice the smell any more... Scary! I though i was going to be dead in ten minutes, and i felt like crap for the rest of the day.... Made my first carbon plate tonight! this stuff is sweet!
Be Safe y'all...
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Old 02-14-2013, 10:07 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wamp View Post
11 pages of safety, sad stories and not mention of how bad CF is.
Last night I was looking at used mSR tail booms for other projects, and did some destructive testing. They are low grade stuf. I got up in the middle of the night with the itches. No big deal.

But Carbon Fiber is nasty stuff.

Easton who makes CF arrow shafts provides a warning sheet with shafts and their brochures also gives specific warnings.

The stuff is carciogenic as I understand it, but they do not tell you this.

At the indoor archery range and shop, were my wife practices,there are vacumes with special filters were the shafts are cut. Cleaning up dammaged shafts on the range
is a priority.

Now I see CF frames and parts for RC and no warnings.

Think I'll go metal. Chris
I donít understand why you are so alarmed... are you planning on hand cutting your own frames?

CF is all around us, just standing next to it or touching it poses ZERO harm. Standing next to a heli that just crashed, or snapping an mSR boom by hand will cause no harm!

The harm comes from constant exposure to dust... meaning, if you work at a factory cutting CF all day, or cutting CF in your garage with no respirator... then itís a true hazard, just like FG, Asbestos, and a million other substances.

Hey man, if you are gonna be scared of CF... Then you might as well just quit!

Things such as two part epoxy, CA, electric shock, getting hit with a heli... and last but CRTAINLY not least, LiPo fires are all dangers in this hobby and should all be treated with respect.

I think avoiding CF is analogous to not leaving your house because you're scared of dying.
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Old 02-15-2013, 09:53 PM   #18
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The harm comes from constant exposure to dust... meaning, if you work at a factory cutting CF all day, or cutting CF in your garage with no respirator... then itís a true hazard, just like FG, Asbestos, and a million other substances.
Yup, you forgot CA, Epoxy, many kinds of paint, solder, soldering flux etc. Constant exposure to many chemicals is dangerous, but as with all toxins dosage makes the poision.

Occasional contact with CF is not going to pose a risk, its not asbestos...
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Old 03-01-2013, 02:02 PM   #19
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Didn't forget CA and epoxy (its in there)... but that's exactly my point man, its not the chemical or the object, its how you treat it. Just stepping outside is dangerous, you can get shot by a stray bullet, struck by lightning, hit by a drunk driver or a meteorite can fall on your head.

On CA though, the biggest danger here is inhalation or gluing yourself to something. Getting it on your skin is not gonna do anything more than annoy you. CA cures instantly when contacting moisture (Remember its original use? Stopping bleeding).

Just be careful and don't be stupid... and you will be A OK.
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Old 03-23-2013, 12:08 AM   #20
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You get carbon dust in your lungs every day just by living in a city. People who work around the stuff every day wear protective gear for the same reason the nurse hides behind a lead shield when doing x-rays. Repeated daily exposure for years can be harmful. Occasional exposure probably does a lot less harm than just going out in public on a smoggy day.

CF is not made from dioxin and lead, it's made from carbon and epoxy resin. If it was as dangerous as as some people seem to think then it would require a warning label like any other toxic substance to be sold legally.
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