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Dec 19, 2004, 08:29 PM
The ground jumped at it!
Mat's Avatar
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Why is cutting carbon fiber dangerous?

Is it toxic?
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Dec 19, 2004, 10:06 PM
Build To Fly Not To Crash
DryFly's Avatar
The fibers that are created (and inevitably inhaled) by someone not wearing protection through sanding or cutting are like tiny spears floating around in the air that can imbed themselves in the linings of your lungs. Once there they remain. Exposure to material like this has been proven to lead to all kinds of lung complications and is suspected to even be a catalyst for lung cancer. Best bet is to alway take care just in case.
Dec 20, 2004, 09:19 AM
Registered User
Eyefly's Avatar
I have heard this theory and another. It may also be the resin used to work with the carbon which is toxic/carcinogenic. In either case, just as dry fly stated, better to err on the side of caution. Wear breathing protection and better do it in a very well ventelated space.

Dec 27, 2004, 08:17 AM
the fibers will short out electrical items
electric drill radio TV fan ect
Dec 27, 2004, 10:18 AM
I'm going to get myself a new canister type respirator for working with carbon and glass, etc. Any brands/models that are specifically recommended for this work?
Dec 28, 2004, 01:21 AM
If you plan on doing lots of sanding may want a full face
dust mask as the dust isent good for the eyes
little spear thing?
I have worked with fiber glass and graphite fiber in a prototype shop in Detroit in the 70s we made a whole car out of GF so we had a lot of grinding to do
the company bought a seperate building to do the work put in a drop sealing
put duct tape over the tiles so dust couldent shortout the lights
removed all the electrical boxes painted the walls and floor put in lots of airlines
installed air filter and 2 door air trap
to go to work we got paper coveralls hood and boots rubber gloves duct tape evey were full face dust mask we all looked like some thing out of Doctor NO
Battery powered radios too ? there are differed types of resperators and what they
will guard against fumes / fibers both? as we had different aeras for
lay up / cut / grind / glue / paint we had a safty meeting to explaine what was up
but that was 25 years ago
Dec 28, 2004, 03:38 AM
I'm All Thumbs
AirBornOne's Avatar
are like tiny spears floating around in the air that can imbed themselves in the linings of your lungs.
And not just the lining but the lung tissues and air sacs also.
This is precisely what asbestos does.
After these spears have entered your lungs they pierce and damage any tissue they encounter.With every breath.
Do you breathe?
Every time a tissue is damaged,scar tissue is formed.Years and years of scar tissue formation and your lungs capacity to exchange the bad air for good air is diminished.Eventually,all the scar tissue formation activity stimulates the big 'C' , cancer.
The 'funny' thing about all this is that cf as well as asbestos are not toxic.
Go figure?
Jan 10, 2005, 11:46 PM
Happymcc's Avatar
Part of the problem is that they are inert The body does not attack and
remove them as it would any other foreign material . So it just stays
there and keeps on doing damage .
Jan 11, 2005, 07:43 AM
Registered User
vintage1's Avatar
I am not sure that is true.

The body coughs out all manner of stuff. AS small uanuty of diust will come out, its teh danger of them getting embedded and vcemoning a focus for infection, of carrying in oter toxic stuff thye may have with them that is the danger.

Frankly I am far more concerned about carbon parrticulates in diesel exhaust. FAR more deadly.

Than the ocasional exposure to carbon fiber dust.
Jan 11, 2005, 12:00 PM
My good friend used to work in an aerospace composites shop. He said there was one guy there that absolutely refused to wear any sort of breathing protection. After a long spell he started to have breathing problems and finally went to see the doctor. The doctor took x-rays and didn't like what he saw and gave the dude a grim prognosis. Two weeks later he was dead.

Coal dust, carbon fiber, fiberglass, silica, asbestos all get in there and block up your lungs and scar them - and you can't get the stuff out so easily. While some dust may come out when you cough - the shape of the carbor fiber, fiberglass and asbestos particles keep them lodged in there. Its like a tiny little needle.

It also not good to get the junk up under your skin.

I have resolved to do the following when playing with composites: 1. wear a canister respirator. 2. use ventilation 3. wear gloves 4. wear a jump suit to cover my clothes. The fibers also get into your clothes and cling there, where they can be let loose in your house - or when you wash your clothes with clothes from other members of your family it can transfer. There has been reports of family members being affected in this way. So you want to take all the precautions you can to protect yourself and anyone else around you.
Jan 12, 2005, 09:57 PM
Registered User
Hi All, just to add a little to this thread, I work underground so I've more than a passing interest, the problem as I see/understand it is that we can filter out / remove particals down to about 5 micrometers, less than that I can't comment but the particals occuring in nature are worn/erroded,, they are not sharp.

Particals produced by blasting smashing drilling etc are a lot smaller and sharper than our bodys would ever encounter in nature,,, our lungs are just not designed to deal with this stuff, it scars the lung surface, the more scaring the less area to absorb oxygen, and it won't ever repair.

I remember reading a report somewhere about a test done a long time ago on the lungs of a dead miner, and there was something like .5 gram of dust found in the lungs, accumulated over many years workin underdround.

It's amazing how some mundane activites can be very dangerous, I have an old friend that in the 60s represented farmers from the West of state, a notable percentage were developing scilicosis similar to the miners many years prior, it was found that the process of plowing the sandy Western soil caused the particals to grind/smash and prolonged breathing of the dust while plowing produced buggered lungs in some cockies.

As for asbestos, it has been shown that family members have be affected from clothing etc with particals/dust attached.

IMO carbon fibre is physically the closest thing to asbestos I have come across and there is a 20-25 year period before anything happens sometimes.

That is also why sadly some companies have older employees ( in their late 50s early 60s) undertake asbestos removal I knew of this happening upto only 3 years ago.

Sorry for the long rant but look after yourselves and at least wear a mask.

Jan 12, 2005, 10:14 PM
Registered User
Vintage1, your also right about the soot in diesel fumes, in the early days diesel powered equipment underground used water scrubbers to clean the exhaust, they worked good but required regular maintenance. Now catalitic converters are used, and yes they stop a large percentage of noxious fumes but they do nothing to remove the soot. It has been recognised across the world that there is a very high probablity that this soot could cause/contribute to lung cancer, but nothing tangable is being done about it.

Coughing up black crap is part and parcel of working in a 'Diesel' mine.

Oct 20, 2020, 12:36 AM
Suspended Account
Digging up an ancient thread, hopefully someone is still interested and around from before and now, but this is worthy of continuing since balsa is now very hard to find, which has me digging into alternative materials for RC plane building. It just occurred to me, why not sand/cut/drill with the piece submerged in water? That would trap the potential dust particles and one would only need to dispose of the water rather then having to deal with the rest.
Oct 20, 2020, 02:36 AM
Entropy is happening!
Jim.Thompson's Avatar
Originally Posted by saucerguy
......................why not sand/cut/drill with the piece submerged in water? .......................
I wet sand wherever possible.

One of the more hazardous operations in my shed is sweeping the floor!
All the accumulated dust, of various types, are stirred up. That is when I make sure to wear a mask.
Oct 21, 2020, 01:03 AM
Suspended Account
Originally Posted by Jim.Thompson
I wet sand wherever possible.

One of the more hazardous operations in my shed is sweeping the floor!
All the accumulated dust, of various types, are stirred up. That is when I make sure to wear a mask.
I like that approach! Perhaps it can be safe"end" a bit more by doing it over a tray and hitting the material with a spray bottle as needed to keep things wet and dripping into it to dispose of. You could even run drain from the tray to dump into a container as well.

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