Friedrichshafen, Germany – Berlin-based start-up Carbon Mobile GmbH used the continuous carbon fiber reinforced Lanxess Tepex Dynalite fine 1K thermoplastic to produce the unibody structure case of its new Carbon 1 Mark II mobile phone.
Carbon Mobile founder and CEO Firas Khalifeh called it “the world’s first mobile phone powered by carbon fiber technology, the result of the collision of German materials science and engineering.”
He explains: “In an industry that is stagnating, we are not inspired by the materials used today, but by the materials of tomorrow.
His company says that if all smartphones were ever made like the Carbon Mobile cell phone, up to 100,000 tonnes of resources per year could be saved globally.
Carbon Mobile has partnered with CleanHub to become the first electronics company to commit to removing at least 5 tonnes of plastic waste from the sea. Until the company can guarantee CO2-free cell phone shipments , she will use Cloverly to offset CO2 by planting trees.
He believes that the cell phone’s use of real visible carbon fiber puts it in an entirely different league from conventional phones with their “fake carbon look and disposable plastics.”
He considers the material “very valuable, because unlike inexpensive disposable plastic cases, it contains less than 5% plastic and can be recycled by being broken down into its raw materials.”
Carbon Mobile was founded in 2016.
The company exists, Khalifeh said, to change things for the better and to preserve the planet with thinner devices. Guided by the Bauhaus principle of “form follows function,” he said, “we have designed devices where beauty is combined with incredible strength. “
He compares Carbon Mobile in its industry as being just as innovative as Tesla has been in electric cars.
By exploiting the lightness and high strength of the carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic composite, Carbon Mobile has brought to the market a phone which, with 125 grams, is 23% lighter than the competition with an average of 182 grams, with a thickness at 6.3 millimeters, it is 25% thinner than other 6-inch screen cell phones.
“We only use what is strictly necessary to save every gram and millimeter,” Khalifeh said. The phone does not have a steel inner frame like conventional phones thanks to the sturdy carbon fiber casing, he said.
Established players in the cell phone industry were skeptical, Khalifeh said.
“We have been told over and over again that carbon fiber is an impossible dream for cellphones, too expensive, and its electrical conductivity makes it unusable for electronic devices,” he said. It was believed that the Faraday cage effect would make the experience “like calling from a cell phone in an elevator,” he said.
But the conductivity problem has been overcome by the development of the HyRECM radio-activated hybrid composite material technology that fuses carbon fibers with radio-activated glass fiber. The material allows for the permeation of the radio frequency signal, while conductivity is provided as needed for the antenna support system using a 3D inkjet printed conductive ink, which Khalifeh says also eliminates the radio frequency noise.
The cost has been reduced by reducing the production time from three hours to 30 minutes today in a hybrid molding process with “the best materials from Germany, resulting in a beautifully designed device with a coating from Switzerland”.
While Hong Kong-based Modern Composites Ltd. initially made the moldings for the phone, Khalifeh said production would move to Germany by the end of the year.
It is the “European response to the technology sector currently dominated by Asian and American suppliers,” Khalifeh said.
Carbon Mobile has also started talking about work that will lead to the world’s first smartphone in biobased carbon fibers in 2022. These are already carbon fibers produced from precursors from wood, flax or algae sources. .
Lanxess exhibited the Carbon 1 Mark II at the Fakuma trade fair in Friedrichshafen, Germany.