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What is G10

Discussion in 'Gadgets & Gear' started by RockyNomad, Dec 16, 2007.

  1. RockyNomad


    Oct 25, 2005
    Ok, I'm a bit of a newbie. What exactly is G10 and what makes it superior to micarta?
  2. markksr


    Mar 15, 2007
  3. shecky


    May 3, 2006
    It's a fancy way to say fiberglass.

    Who says it's superior to micarta? Outside of the knife world, it seems the two words might be used interchangeably.
  4. Keith_H


    Jul 20, 2007
    The word micarta can be used quite loosely, could be thin layers of thin wood, paper, canvas, linen etc. but it is a westinghouse electrical insulator.

    fibreglass is usually woolly and itchy, in G10, the fibres are smooth and cloth-like, quite user friendly, it is lighter than micarta, and can be coloured nicely. epoxy resin is also quite nicer than fibreglass resin.
  5. 3Guardsmen


    Mar 16, 2005
    No. G10 is woven fiberglass soaked in an epoxy resin and then compressed and baked. If someone asked you what an omelette was, would you answer that it is a fancy way to say egg?:rolleyes:

    FYI, fiberglass is but an ingredient in G10, just as it is in FRN (Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon).

  6. shecky


    May 3, 2006
    G10 is simply fiberglass, as most folks use the term. That is, fiberglass in a thermosetting plastic. A fancy version of the same stuff used to fabricate giant figurines and kit car bodies. Any non knife nut will certainly see the similarity. My definition still stands.

    AFAIK, FRN is just a fancy way to say molded plastic. Whether it has fiberglass, or pink glitter mixed in, it's still thermoformed plastic. Generally pretty easy to distinguish from G10. I doubt anybody would colloquially call FRN fiberglass.
  7. zenheretic


    Oct 29, 2005
    ....and most people would not call g10 fiberglass either.

    Both are a mixture of various polymers and fiberglass, why do you call one fiberglass while ignoring the polymer, yet call the other plastic and ignore the fiberglass?

    That would be like looking at D2 and saying it is simply iron; and looking at S30V and saying it is just vanadium.

    By the way "plastic" covers an much broader array of differing materials than does the term "steel".
  8. outlaw918692000


    Sep 15, 2003
    Comparing G-10 to Fiberglass is like comparing standard Aluminum to 6061. One is soft like lead the other is a pretty tough alloy. Fiberglass is brittle, flaky, and will begin deteriorating in the elements quickly (rub your hands on a sheet of fiberglass that has set outside for a year. It's like chock.) G-10 will hold up to a lot more and costs more to produce. And is pressed and backed. Hence why you don't see G-10 boats.
  9. F3X


    Dec 10, 2006
    Some info:

    Grade CE Garolite: Compared to Grade XX Garolite, Grade CE offers higher impact strength. It's a cotton-cloth laminate with a phenolic resin binder.

    Grade G-7 Garolite: A woven-glass-fabric laminate with silicone resin binder. It withstands high temperatures and is good for electrical applications.

    Grade G-9 Garolite: This woven-glass fabric laminate has a melamine resin binder for superior strength. It retains its shape and size, plus is good for use in wet conditions.

    Grade G-10 Garolite: A glass-cloth laminate with epoxy resin binder offering excellent strength and low water absorption.

    Grade G-10/FR4 Garolite: A glass-cloth laminate with epoxy resin binder, this material is the flame-retardant version of standard G-10 Garolite. It offers excellent strength and low water absorption.

    Grade G-11 Garolite: Similar to G-10 Garolite, except G-11 is stronger and can withstand higher temperatures. It's a glass-cloth laminate with epoxy resin binder.

    Grade G-30 Glass Polyimide Garolite: Made of glass fabric with a polyimide resin binder.
  10. knarfeng

    knarfeng senex morosus moderator Staff Member Super Mod Moderator

    Jul 30, 2006
    Last question first: I do not think you can generically compare G10 to Micarta. There is too much variation in the materials that are described by those terms. I think that at best you can compare materials offered by a single maker because there will be enough uniformity in his G10 or Micarta to make the comparison valid.

    OK, first question:

    G10 is a designation for epoxy impregnated glass fabric. The term "G10" comes from a NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association) specification, specification L1, "Industrial Laminated Thermosetting Products". There is no Qualified Producers List for L1, it is a performance specification. Anyone can make G10, but, in order to be called G10, it has to have a specific set of properties. The good part of this is that anything called G10 has to have certain minimum properties. The less good part is that the properties that most interest knife people are either not controlled by the specification or only partly controlled.

    I do not have access to NEMA specifications. The charge to buy specification L1 is $190. Too much for me. But the military buys its G10 laminates to its own spec, MIL-I-24768/2. That, I have access to. The properties controlled by the MIL spec are going to be pretty similar to those controlled by the NEMA spec. It’s the same material and it’s going to be used for the same purpose, circuit boards. Here are the properties of G10 flat laminates per MIL-I-2478/2:
    Dielectric breakdown voltage
    Dielectric constant
    Dissipation factor
    Impact strength
    Flex strength
    Water absorption.

    As you can see, most of these are electrical parameters. But there are a couple that would interest us. Impact strength of a 1/8" thick section is to be at least 7 ft-lb per inch. Flex strength of a 1/8" thick section is to be a minimum of 55 KSI measured with the fabric. But these two properties are the only ones that define the material for what knife people want it for. And two properties are insufficient to really tie down the performance.

    Here is a link to a quick post I made about how G10 is processed: http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/sh...25#post4132125

    There are a number of places that performance variation can creep in to G10.
    You start with fabric, with any number of weaves available, any number of fiber diameters, none of them controlled by the G10 spec. One company weaves the fabric. Another company buys the fabric, and impregnates the fabric with an epoxy resin and turns it into "prepreg". There are thousands of resin combinations from which to choose. Selection is not controlled by the G10 spec. That company sells its "prepreg" to a processor who makes the laminates. The processed laminates are what is sold as G10. It is only the two-variable performance of that finished laminate that is controlled. Specifications that control structural laminates usually control more properties.

    And the surface finish, which interests us the most, is not controlled by the G10 spec at all. Check out the surface finish of a circuit board some time. It’s pretty slippery. So the knife maker who wants G10 for his handles has to order special stuff. It’s still made from the same prepreg that makes circuit board G10, so it’s going to have G10 strength properties, such as they are. But, he is going to go to that processor and arrange to buy some special G10 laminate that has a special rough finish to it.

    What he ends up with is going to depend on what he asks for, who processes it and how it was done, what epoxy was used, what fabric weave was chosen. And it is all called G10 because it meets the NEMA spec for circuit boards.

    Don't start me on micarta.:D
  11. SkinnyJoe

    SkinnyJoe Banned BANNED

    Jun 9, 2007
    Is all G10 in the knife industry the same? For instance, G10 on Cold Steel knives vs. G10 on Spydercos?
  12. Th232


    Oct 16, 2006
    Short answer, no. Sal Glesser has said that the G10 used in Spyderco knives has 30% more fibreglass than "standard" G10, I'm unsure as to what "standard" G10 would be though.
  13. knarfeng

    knarfeng senex morosus moderator Staff Member Super Mod Moderator

    Jul 30, 2006
    Read my post immediately above yours. G10 is variable.

    That applies to the question of "standard G10" as well.
  14. Dantor


    Dec 14, 2006
    If you can RockyN, try and handle the materials (G10, various Micarta) in your hand. You may luv it, hate it, or something in between.

    Especially the one (s) you really want. And be honest with yourself because your the one going to use it and a good feeling blade is a wonderful thing! :D
  15. allenC


    Jun 18, 2000
    Not true.
    I have a fiberglass handle hammer and a fiberglass recurve bow.....and they have both been used hard for many many years.
    Fiberglass is tough!!!

    G-10 is just another variation of fiberglass.

    Personally, I prefer micarta for knife handles.
    I wish that I still had my old Spydeco micarta handle Goddard Jr. and micarta handle Calypso Jr.
  16. Tim Horan

    Tim Horan Banned BANNED

    Sep 17, 2007
    G10 is made with fiberglass. In the same way micarta is made with linen paper or canvas.
  17. hlee


    Dec 5, 2005
    G10 is fiberglass and linen micarta is linen...

    Anyone up for linen micarta bed sheets?

    Wait, I need to go to the store and need to make a list, I've got some paper micarta around here somewhere.

    The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Yes, G10 is made from fiberglass, but it is not correct to say that G10 is merely fiberglass.
  18. allenC


    Jun 18, 2000
    I don't think that G-10 is made with or from fiberglass.
    It is made from an epoxy resin and G-10 is essentially the same thing as fiberglass.....which is not a bad thing.
  19. knarfeng

    knarfeng senex morosus moderator Staff Member Super Mod Moderator

    Jul 30, 2006
    As in the commercial, you are all correct.

    There are two meanings to the term "fiberglass".

    The most common is fibers made from glass as in "fiberglass insulation".

    The term is also sometimes used to describe resin impregnated glass fibers as in the usage, "fiberglass hulled boat". Usually the polyester resin is used because it sets up faster than epoxy and the final product need not be as strong as that made from epoxy.

    G10 is a bit more specific than either of the above terms. G10 is glass fibers, woven into fabric, impregnated with an epoxy resin, and cured.
  20. Gollnick

    Gollnick Musical Director

    Mar 22, 1999
    Fiberglass is a very broad term. It means what it sounds like it means: glass made in the form of a thin fiber.

    (When we think of glass fibers, the term "fiber optics" often comes to mind. fiber optic cables as used for data communications are fibers of glass, yes, but they actually have two layers, an inner core and an putter clad, made each of different kinds of glass. At the risk of getting technical, the two kinds of glass have different indexes of refraction. The result is an internal relection. This construction keeps light introduced into one end of the core inside of the core and traveling down the core to the other end.)

    Fiber glass varies in diameter, composition, and organization.

    We're all, I suspect, seen fiberglass insulation batts (those thick, fluffy, pink sheets built into building walls. That is short, fine, glass strands which are more or less random in orientation. It's a bit like cotton balls which are made of short, fine fibers of cotton in random orientations.

    You can also get cotton in long, thick, straight strands known as "thread" which we've all seen for sewing buttons on shirts and such.

    Speaking of shirts, you've doubtlessly also seen cotton cloth whic consists of cotton threads which are woven in a very specific pattern.

    So, cotton comes in short, fine, randomly-organized fibers, it comes in long, relatively-thick, single strands, and it comes in woven cloths. Even cotton threads vary in diameter and length. And cotton cloth varies from corse canvas to fine linen.

    It is hard to believe that two things as different as canvas and linen are the same basic material. But, they are both cotton.

    Similarly, fiberglass comes in all sorts of different forms.

    G10 is a fabric made of woven threads of fiberglass impregnated with epoxy. The epoxy makes it rigid and the fiberglass makes it strong.

    There are similar materials available which are made with randomly-oriented fiberglass. The result is much the same: the epoxy gives it shape and makes it rigid while the glass gives strength.

    Interestingly, G10, micarta, FRN, and FR4 (another material sometimes used on knives) were all originally confected for use as electical insulators and are often used in circuit boards.

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