Carbon fiber composite materials have been synonymous with the highly coveted black, woven fabric look. In fact, there has almost been a reluctance to alter the “authentic” look and feel of carbon fiber. Until now.
Many industries – from automotive to footwear – are now seeing limitations in the “classic” look of carbon fiber and are seeking new aesthetics which can set their products apart. This trend has been accelerated by a shift in consumer demographics to Generation Z. According to Matt Powell, senior industry advisor at The NPD Group, “unique” is the word Generation Z uses most to describe themselves. They want to buy unique products with unique designs from unique brands. They want products tailored “just for me”.
When it comes to carbon fiber composite materials, a new aesthetic that still provides the same functional benefits will make a difference in next-generation product innovation. What about alternative compositions and textures? Can carbon fiber appear in colors other than black? Questions like these were heard loud and clear at the 2018 NW Materials Show – a major footwear and apparel trade show in Portland, Oregon.
Covestro took the show by storm with Maezio™ unidirectional thermoplastic composites, an exciting material advancement that takes carbon fiber to the next level. Available in a range of colors and finishing options, these materials give engineers and product designers new opportunities for optical effects and designed aesthetics that go beyond carbon fiber’s traditional look. Textures such as organic marble, wood grain and forged carbon have unlocked a new class of aesthetics – helping brands meet consumers’ ever-evolving needs.