What is the difference between dry pre-preg carbon fibre and wet carbon fibre?
When I first joined AUTOID I had to learn the difference pretty quickly. It's such a common question, we get asked the difference almost every day. So, for those who want to know more about the parts your adding to your car, here is the difference explained...
Five times stronger than steel but up to half the weight of standard Aluminium, the idea is by adding carbon fibre to your car you're making it lighter and thus making for quicker acceleration. Even more importantly in some cases, it's a smart and sleek looking material that can be moulded into various styles to allow for complete styling personalisation.
Adding carbon fibre to your car is a no-brainer really, but the confusion usually happens when people see the different types available.
Wet carbon fibre vs. Dry pre-preg carbon fibre
Dry carbon refers to the manufacturing process rather than the finish. Dry carbon is another term for pre-preg carbon (which itself is an abbreviation of the term pre-impregnated carbon fibre). For these products, the activated resin matrix has already been impregnated into the carbon fibre sheet. The sheets arrive and remain 'dry' throughout the manufacturing process - hence the name 'Dry carbon'. This is typically the best carbon on the market as its the lightest and most efficient way to make carbon, whilst also producing the strongest and most durable part. Once the carbon part is made, its then either finished in a gloss or satin lacquer - depending on the look you want. 'Exposed' carbon is usually raw carbon with a protective sealant on top.
Wet carbon typically applies to carbon fibre that has been manufactured using raw carbon fibre sheets that have not been pre-impregnated with resin. The resin is applied manually at the lay-up stage instead. This can create a variable based on how skilled and quality focused the factory that making it are, due to the quantity and quality of resin. Typically, wet carbon parts are not as strong as their dry (pre-preg) carbon counter parts. This is not always the case though - we've seen some wet carbon parts superseding pre-preg carbon parts.
Why is dry carbon fibre more expensive?
The price difference ultimately comes from the greater amount of time and resource it takes to make dry pre-preg carbon fibre compared to its wet alternative. The product you receive is also of better quality- we really believe in the quality of our TRE pre-preg products so much that we offer a 2-year warranty. Wet carbon is typically favoured by the lower end market because of its flexibility and ability to combine with other materials like fiberglass.
Each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages but understanding the differences will help you make a more informed decision about which type will suit your needs.
Dry pre-preg carbon fibre
- Up to 60% lighter than wet carbon
- Significantly stronger
- Almost 4x more expensive to manufacture
- Longer manufacturing process
Wet carbon fibre
- A lot cheaper to produce
- Same sleek carbon appearance as dry carbon
- Sacrifice in quality
- Heavier than dry pre-preg carbon fibre
Still need help? No problem. Use our live chat or give us a call for a more personal break down of the differences.