Basically a composite material like carbon fiber??

Is there anything that’s lighweight as cf and rigid, but stronger. Thanks if you know…

I heard beryllium fits that bill.

Or exceeds it.

I think McLaren used Beryllium alloy for their formula1 engine one year, dominated the season and FIA banned it.

Yeah, typical Canadian understatement.

I know of beryllium from the $25K mountain bike of the early 90’s. That machine had a 2.5lb frame that was said to be overbuilt to ensure zero possibility of failure.

Some basics ripped from the web:

  • One-third as heavy as aluminum but six times stiffer than steel
  • Possesses a high melting temperature (1285o C) and high heat-absorption capacity
  • Lowest thermal neutron absorption cross-section of any metal
  • Especially suited for use in nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons components
  • Material is found in springs, switches, relays, telecommunication equipment, certain molds and casts, and non-sparking tools
    some golf clubs and bicycle frames are made of beryllium alloys
  • Small particles, which can be inhaled, can chip off fairly easily
  • Material is very toxic
  • Current OSHA 8-hour time-weighted average permissible exposure limit is 2 micrograms per cubic meter of air


As has been pointed out, beryllium dust is highly toxic and the material was banned from F1 a few years ago for that reason. It also has a lower tensile modulus and strength than most CFRP materials, but it has other advantages (e.g., heat resistance) that make it more suitable in certain applications.

As to the OP, it’s really necessary to know more about the application. For thin walled molded structures, CF has pretty much the highest strength and stiffness to weight ratio of any engineering material. However, it’s totally unsuitable for other applications (engine blocks for instance). Boron fiber composites are slightly stiffer than most carbon materials, but not as strong. Carbon nanotube material is (or will be) about 10 times stronger and 3 times stiffer, but it’s not really commercially available yet.

“Stronger” in what way? More tensile strength? Torsional strength? Chemical resistance? Heat resistance? Less brittle?

It would be good to know the application. For what it’s worth, though, the supports that hold the F-22’s tail on are two large molded carbon-fiber bananas. I don’t know why you need stuff stronger than CF, unless you’re going for a small wal thickness – in which case, as Scott says, CF is your best option.

If you can go with a little more weight, you could try various other aramid- or glass-reinforced composites, which can be a lot stronger than CF (albeit heavier).

How about that new ALON that the US Army is working on?


(Speaking into mouse) “Computerrr, do you have any trrrransparrrent aluminum?”

Sorry for the lack of info. Firstly, this isnt something Im actually doin//building, but just a concept. I wasnt sure if there was a better composite than cf…so I asked. Stronger? Im mean strength wise. I have a shoe (aj11) that has a cf shank (i guess it wasnt made well or whatever) but it cracked. So thx for the responses.

That doesn’t really help. Even if you’re just talking about physical strength, there’s at least tensile strength, compressive strength, torsional strength.

For example: Titanium is incredibly stiff (strong in tensile strength) but brittle (has a quick elastic limit).
Polyamides (nylon) on the other hand are floppy compared to Ti, but they’re far more malleable and can stand up to a lot more deformation before they break.

Are you going to be compressing this carbon fiber? Making a leaf spring out of it? twisting it about a long axis? Things like weave direction and pattern and resin impregnation make huge differences.

You could try using a honeycomb sandwich like they use for airplanes. Two sheet layers of aluminum with a core of Hexcel. Really strong and mostly air. Some sheets substitute CF, Kevlar, Spectra, e-glass or even fibreglass. Use it the way you would use sheets of plywood or foamcore.


If it is something that essentially needs to be a solid plate that wont be twisted much, you could even look into G10 aramid laminate. I have used it for many things, and it’s pretty easy to work with sells it, they are really good at answering questions as well

Best of luck!

tensile strength, compressive strength, torsional strength.

Ok I see. Well compressive and torsional being the two major components where strength is needed. Ok, well instead of something better, is there an alternative to cf, thats just as good (give or take)? Good meaning strength to weight, rigidity.

Thank again for every1’s responses.