How to tell if carbon fiber is real?

Carbon fiber is a very popular material for the manufacturing of sporting goods, industrial parts and even art. It’s also a favorite among counterfeiters looking to sell fake carbon fiber products. But how can you tell if your carbon fiber product is real? Here are some tips that will help you determine whether or not your carbon fiber is real.

How to tell if carbon fiber is real?

You can figure out whether carbon fiber is real by examining it visually, checking its documentation, testing its strength and feeling.

If you look closely at a piece of genuine carbon fiber, you’ll see that the strands are uniform in size and shape. If the material has been cut or molded into a part (such as a seat) and shows an obvious transition from one strand to another, it’s likely fake. Let’s see more:

How to tell if carbon fiber is real

Visual inspection

There are a number of ways to tell if your item is made of carbon fiber. The most obvious method is to simply look at it: Carbon fiber has a distinct weave pattern and the edges are easily identifiable as well. Be wary of items that claim to be made from real carbon fiber but have suspiciously smooth or shiny surfaces, or seem too thin or lightweight for their size and weight class.

Check the documentation

If the documentation that accompanies your carbon fiber piece is legitimate, it’s a good indication that the item itself is authentic. If you have a certificate of authenticity, it means that your product was handmade by highly skilled craftsmen and has been verified as being made from 100% real carbon fibers.

If you have a serial number, this indicates that your item was one of only a few created by an artisan.

If there’s a warranty for your piece, this means the manufacturer stands behind their products and will repair or replace them if they’re damaged by normal use or wear-and-tear over time. A manufacturer who offers such guarantees doesn’t want people returning items because they’re fake!

Test the strength

There are several ways to measure strength. One way is to cut a piece in half and see how much force it takes to break each half. Another way is to bend a strip until it breaks, or apply pressure along its length until it breaks, or even apply pressure perpendicular to the strip’s length until it fails completely.

The higher this number is, the stronger the material will be. The lower this number is, the weaker your carbon fiber product will be (though not necessarily dangerous). In general terms:

  • Strength increases when fibers are aligned and uniform; strength decreases when fibers are misaligned and irregular
  • Damage causes carbon fiber products to lose their original strength

Check the feel and heft

Check the feel and heft. A real carbon fiber product will be heavier than a fake one, and it will feel different to the touch. A real carbon fiber product will have a more uniform grain pattern (that is, the lines running in parallel across the material), while a fake material may look more mottled or jagged in appearance. Also, take note of how consistent its color is; if it has an overall glossy finish but there are areas that are duller than others, then it’s likely not authentic.[2]

Listen to it

Listen to it. If you have a carbon fiber product and are trying to determine if it’s real, listen closely. The material is very stiff, so it will produce a high-pitched sound when struck with something like your fingernail or the back of a spoon. You can also test the strength of carbon fiber by striking it with a hammer or other similar object. Low-pitched sounds mean that there’s no fraud going on; everything is legit!


If you’re interested in buying carbon fiber, it’s important to know that there are a lot of fake products out there. This guide will help you identify whether something is real or not by examining the characteristics and properties unique to carbon fiber.

Thomas Walker

Thomas Walker is an author of numerous works on food and an American chef who specializes in traditional Mexican cuisine with modern interpretations. Visit some of his suggested Culinary Schools to become a professional chef like him. 

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