Carbon Fiber Tubes

Clearwater Composites creates and supplies carbon fiber tubes for many applications and industries. Our world-class composites engineers will design innovative solutions that solve your part problems and maximize the potential of your products.

Custom-Made Carbon Fiber Tubes

When you have a problem that needs a customized solution, turn to Clearwater Composites for custom carbon fiber tubing. Our engineers use carbon fiber and composite materials to make composite tubing in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Clearwater’s capacity for original work has produced real innovations that strengthen our clients’ products and businesses. Our US manufacturing facility is certified to AS9100D standards, ready to take on any composites engineering challenge.

Talk with one of our engineers about your specific needs. You will receive a prompt response and start making progress toward an innovative solution today.

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Due to their unique properties, carbon fiber tubes are used in numerous applications over traditional materials such as aluminum, steel, and titanium.

  • High strength and stiffness with low weight
  • Excellent fatigue resistance
  • Dimensional stability: Low to Zero CTE (Coefficient of Thermal Expansion)

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We stock carbon fiber tubes in hundreds of different specifications for shape, modulus, dimensions, and exterior.

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Round Carbon Fiber Tube

Square Carbon Fiber Tube

Rectangle Carbon Fiber Tube

Hexagonal Carbon Fiber Tube

Octagonal Carbon Fiber Tube

Types of Carbon Fiber Tubes

Standard Modulus Carbon Fiber Tubing (SM)

This is the most common grade of carbon fiber used for our carbon fiber tubes. Standard modulus offers excellent strength and stiffness. It is 1.5X stiffer than aluminum and is the most economical grade.

Intermediate Modulus Carbon Fiber Tubing (IM)

Intermediate modulus tubing offers enhanced stiffness over standard modulus carbon fiber tubing with the same or better strength. Intermediate modulus is approximately 2x stiffer than aluminum tubing.

High Modulus Carbon Fiber Tubing (HM)

At 3x the stiffness of aluminum (or equivalent stiffness of steel), high modulus tubing has strength remarkably similar to standard modulus carbon fiber tubing. It is an excellent choice for demanding, weight-sensitive applications.

Ultra-High Modulus Carbon Fiber Tubing (UHM)

Incredible stiffness at 4x-5x that of aluminum or 1.5x that of steel. Ultra-high modulus has lower strength and is not recommended for high-stress applications.


Carbon fiber tubes can be fabricated into virtually any shape.  These include:

  • Round
  • Square
  • Rectangle
  • Oval, elliptical
  • Octagon, hexagon
  • Custom shapes and profiles

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We offer stock, build-to-order, and custom carbon fiber tubes in multiple diameters. Custom tooling can be made to order for reasonable cost.

  • Wide range of diameters from 0.060” to over 10”
  • Most common fractional sizes (ID and OD)
  • Tapered diameters
  • Many metric sizes
  • OD grinding add-on service (+/-0.0005”)

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Wall Thickness

Carbon fiber tubes are made with layers of prepreg, typically ~0.006” per layer. Virtually any wall thickness can be made by changing the number of layers or combining different prepreg thicknesses (0.003” – 0.010”). Common tube thicknesses include:

  • Thin wall: 0.010”, 0.020”
  • 0.035”, 0.041”, 0.058”, 0.064”, 0.092”
  • 1/8”, 1/4” or thicker

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Roll-wrapped carbon fiber tubing is sold in standard lengths or can be built custom to reduce waste.

  • Maximum length is 98” (for most ID sizes)
  • Long lengths: Tubes can be joined with internal (or external) ferrules to achieve greater required lengths.
  • One-piece longer lengths are possible for larger orders
  • Tubes can be cut to size for an additional charge.
  • Precision cutting tolerances available (+/-0.010” or better)

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Exterior Finishing

Carbon fiber tubes can be made with a variety of exterior finishes. Our standard finishes include:

  • Cello-wrap (glossy with resin ridges – natural result from production process)
  • Matte (sanded or centerless ground)
  • Satin (sanded, high grit)
  • Glossy (clearcoat)
  • Painted

Visit our finishing capabilities page to learn more. Request a Quote

Exterior Materials

We offer many standard exterior materials for our roll-wrapped carbon fiber tubes. These include:

  • 2×2 twill fabric
  • Plain weave fabric
  • UD (unidirectional)
  • Silver texalium
  • Red/black
  • Blue/black
  • Custom colors/styles:  any fabric that is commercially available can be utilized to make carbon fiber tubing.

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Carbon Fiber Tubes FAQs

Add On Services: How much do “Add On” Services cost?

Add on services vary based on size, diameter, tolerances, etc. A price list can be found on our Add Ons page.

Carbon Fiber vs. Metal: How does carbon fiber tubing compare to other materials?

This will depend on the carbon fiber grade and laminate design. The differences can be seen on the “Properties of Common Carbon Fiber Laminate Designs vs. Metals” table on our “Properties of Carbon Fiber” page.

Drilling: Can I drill carbon fiber tubing?

Yes, carbon fiber tubes can be drilled. See below for helpful tips.

  • Bit: Jobbers carbide drill bit for composites (brad-point)
  • Spindle Speed: Faster the better
  • Reinforce backside to prevent blowout. Can be done with tape, dowel, plug, or clamped to a sacrificial material.

Galvanic Corrosion: Is galvanic corrosion a concern when bonding carbon fiber to metals?

Yes, carbon fiber is electrically conductive. Corrosion occurs by an electrochemical process where metal corrodes due to electrical contact in the presence of an electrolyte. This can be prevented by insulating the tube with fiberglass (non-conductive). Often times, anodized aluminum and/or the epoxy layer can insulate enough to prevent galvanic corrosion.

Low CTE: What is the CTE of your carbon fiber tubes?

Carbon fiber laminates have low CTE compared to standard metals. Laminate design can be modified to make zero/specific CTE’s. Reach out to our sales team for additional information.

Machining: Can carbon fiber tubes be machined?

Yes, machining carbon fiber tubes is relatively straightforward. See below for helpful tips.

  • Bit: Solid carbide router bit for composites, diamond if available
  • Spindle Speed: Faster the better
  • Feed: Based on thickness (proprietary)
  • Reinforce backside to prevent blowout. Can be done with tape, dowel, plug, or clamped to a sacrificial material.

Temperature (Tg): What temperature can your tubing withstand?

Our standard, high, and ultra-high modulus tubes are made with standard 250° F cure epoxy pre-preg. We have not verified the Tg, but theoretical Tg is estimated at ~250° F.

Temperature (Tg): Is high temp material available?

We offer 350° cure, standard modulus material as a custom solution. Higher temp material can be acquired but is on a per-part basis. Reach out to our sales team for additional information.

Twill vs. UD: What is the difference between the twill carbon fiber tubes and the UD carbon fiber tubes?

The simple answer is just the exterior ply of material. Unless noted on a specific product, all of our carbon fiber tubing is made with UD prepreg on the inside, and then will have either the UD exterior ply or a fabric ply. The twill carbon fiber fabric exterior is a popular choice as it provides the carbon fiber “look” that so many customers associate with carbon fiber.

Twill vs. UD: Are the twill carbon fiber tubes stronger or stiffer than the UD carbon fiber tubes?

Yes and no. It depends on the wall thickness and which property is of interest. If the tube wall thickness is the same, technically speaking, the UD exterior tubes will be slightly stronger and stiffer in bending (less than 10%). However, the hoop strength of the fabric exterior tubes will be slightly stronger. Again, this strength or stiffness increase is only a small percentage and will not be noticeable without precise testing equipment. It is advised customers choose between these options based on cosmetics, not strength. Another consideration is if holes are to be drilled into the tube, the twill exterior will resist splintering better than the UD exterior.

ROHS Compliance: Are your parts ROHS compliant?

Our standard carbon fiber prepreg is Considered ROHS compliant. A formal document can be sent upon request.