Carbon Fibre T Shirt
Woven with carbon fibre which has an atomic structure stronger than steel.
- Material woven with carbon fibre for strength
- Highly abrasion resistant
- Extreme four way stretch
In 2017 we set out to make the world’s toughest t shirts. The logic was pretty simple. If you can get tough pants and tough jackets, why can’t you get a tough t shirt? It made no sense to us that the layer you routinely strip down to when you’re working hardest, should be the weakest.
First we built the toughest t shirt on Earth using the same ceramic technology as the International Space Station. Then in 2019 we designed our Carbon Fibre T Shirt to give it something to compete with. Normally reserved for use in missiles, jet engines and the world’s fastest cars thanks to its high tensile strength and low weight, we've taken carbon fibre out of the world of aerospace and military engineering and brought it into clothing.
Each t shirt is woven with over 120 metres of carbon fibre which has an atomic structure that makes it stronger than steel. While the t shirt is still soft, lightweight, breathable, highly elastic and high-wicking, the carbon fibre adds strength and abrasion resistance – acting like a ripstop to save your skin.
It’s the atomic structure that makes carbon fibre so strong
A single carbon fibre is a long, super thin strand of material around 0.005mm across and composed almost entirely of carbon atoms. These atoms bond together to form microscopic crystals that line up parallel to the length of the fibre. It makes the atomic structure of carbon fibre similar to graphite and graphene – with sheets of carbon atoms arranged in a regular hexagonal pattern. And it’s the arrangement of the atoms that makes carbon fibre so strong for its size.
Carbon fibre can be 5x stronger than steel and much lighter
The material we know as carbon fibre is made up of thousands of these individual carbon filaments bundled together and protected by a coating. These larger carbon fibres are classified by how much pulling force the fibre can exert without breaking – known as tensile modulus. Whereas steel has a tensile modulus of around 29 million pounds of force per square inch (PSI), carbon fibre ranges from around 30 to 145 million PSI, which is 5x stronger than steel.
Carbon fibre as a composite
Carbon fibres are typically combined with other materials to make a composite. That’s why the classic image of carbon fibre is the black and grey checks on a bike frame or supercar. These are carbon fibres impregnated with a plastic resin and baked to create carbon fibre reinforced polymer. If your t shirt was made from that it would be completely solid, so we’ve done something different.
Carbon fibre didn’t start life as we know it now
160 years ago carbon fibre was being used as delicate lightbulb filaments by Swan and Edison. It wasn’t until the mid 20th century that scientists realised it could be used as a high strength material. In the US carbon fibres were quickly developed to reinforce high temperature plastic components on missiles. And in the UK, the Ministry of Defence patented the production process before licensing it to Rolls Royce to make jet engines with carbon fibre compressor blades.
How we put carbon fibre into a t shirt
As well as being baked into other materials, carbon fibres can also be woven into them to increase their strength. As carbon fibre is thinner than human hair, it only gets its strength when thousands of these tiny fibres are twisted together to form a yarn. And it’s this yarn that we’ve woven into each t shirt. To the naked eye the carbon fibre will look like a series of single threads. But in reality, each one is a rope-like bundle of thousands of carbon filaments bound together.
It offers hardcore protection
You’ll find each Carbon Fibre T Shirt embedded with over 120 metres of carbon fibre strands. While every carbon fibre thread is smooth and soft to the touch, each one has the same strength as steel, helping make the t shirt highly abrasion resistant. The carbon fibre essentially acts like a ripstop to save your skin. And as it’s woven into the t shirt, these threads can’t be scratched off or washed out.
Why abrasion resistance matters
Abrasion resistance is how you measure clothes’ ability to withstand friction and wear and tear. Whether you're lugging climbing rope over your shoulder, you come off your bike on a downhill track, or your bag is shifting up and down on your back on a long run, that’s all abrasion. Wearing highly abrasion resistant clothing gives you the best chance of coming home from an adventure with your clothes and your skin intact.
How carbon fibre compares to ceramics
In 2017 we used ceramics to create the toughest t shirt on Earth – the Ceramic T Shirt. Since then it’s been taken into jungles, battlefields and live volcanoes. The idea for the Carbon Fibre T Shirt was simply to give it something to compete with. With both t shirts being highly abrasion resistant, the only real difference is in how they’re built. While the ceramics are embedded into the surface of the t shirt, the carbon fibre is woven in.
Designed for the unknown
Adventure sport is never predictable, so we've created a t shirt that protects you from every angle, rather than second-guessing where you might need it. The entire surface area of the t shirt is abrasion resistant. Every square centimetre has carbon fibre running through it. Which means it doesn’t matter where a rock, a tree, or the passage of time tries to strike, you should be covered.
From Graphene, to ceramics, to carbon fibre
Making the world’s most resilient, intelligent and adaptable clothing means we often end up re-engineering materials that started life being used for radically different things. Sometimes the materials we use start life at NASA. Others grow in nature. Today we work with everything from copper and algae, to aerogel, ceramics, Dyneema, and garbage. With its incredible strength to weight ratio, carbon fibre was always going to be part of our journey.
It’s crazily stretchy as well as tough
The more elastane you have in a piece of clothing the more it can stretch. And the last thing you want when you’re pulling any extreme or repetitive move is resistance from your kit. The Carbon Fibre T Shirt has incredible 4 way stretch as it is 41% elastane, so whichever way you stretch, pull or turn, it will simply go with you. It’s normally difficult to make something very tough and stretchy at the same time, but carbon fibre lets us combine toughness with the properties of an elastic band.
It’s breathable and lightweight
Our Carbon Fibre T Shirt is breathable and also hydrophilic, which means it will soak up any sweat and get rid of it fast, so you stay comfortable and dry. While the outside is super-resilient, the underside has a soft, silky feel, making it easy to wear all day. And with the top weighing only 200 grams, you're not paying for the abrasion resistance by having to carry extra weight.
SIze + Fit
The Carbon Fibre T Shirt has a regular fit.
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