Real carbon fiber only truly comes in one way, the standard black/grey weave that we’re all used to seeing. You’ve seen things advertised as a colored carbon fiber, for example the silver Texalium wallet that we sell. If somebody is advertising a product like this as carbon fiber, it’s not true, in most cases it’s actually a material called Texalium.
What Is Texalium?
So what is Texalium, and how is it different than carbon fiber? Texalium was developed by a company based out of California named Hexcel. It’s a fiberglass-basic fabric that has a proprietary finish and a thin coating of aluminum on the surface. The aluminum coating is 99.99% pure and approximately 200 angstroms in thickness (One angstrom is one ten-billionth of a meter). This coating produces the highly reflective surface. Texalium fabrics are woven in 2/2 twill, and standard roll lengths are 100 yards.
The original Texalium product is the silver metallic material that we use in our wallets. Now there are at least four post treatments which can be done to alter the color of the fabric to give it either a blue, yellow, black, or red appearance.
Which Treatment Is Which Color?
Here’s a list of the finish treatments that are used to produce different colors:
- Silver – Original Texalium (Aluminum)
- Blue – Methyl
- Yellow – Radium
- Black – Graphite
- Red – Red
If a colored carbon fiber isn’t made from Texalium, usually it’s a different material that is interwoven with the carbon fiber, such as kevlar or aramid. This gives a slightly different look to the weave, which you can see an example of in our carbon/aramid keychain and from a Status Racing carbon fiber/kevlar seat we saw at SEMA: