The Best Catch of the Month!

Image of the Month: Graphite Fishing Rod – August 2014
The Best Catch of Month!

Anyone who is an avid fisherman/fisherwoman will know that a majority of fishing rods are made of graphite or a combination of carbon fiber and resins.  There is a lot of science that goes into creating fishing rods so that there is a balance of proper bending without breaking.  Fortunately for Micro Photonics (unfortunatly for Brandon Walters), one of his graphite poles broke as he was trying to reel in a snagged log.  This gave us the perfect opportunity to investigate the structure of a graphite rod using our SkyScan 1172 system.

A fishing rod is typically tapered with laminations of graphite fibers.  Each layer of fibers is called a ply and multiple layers are added to provide strength during flexion of the rod.  There are various layering techniques but typical ply orientation is parallel to the axis of the rod with other plies oriented at different angles from the axis.  The reason for angled plies is to provide maximum strength during flexing, reduce the number of plies, and minimize the weight of the rod.

The basic manufacturing of a graphite rod is done by first cuting a large sheet of graphite into a triangular shape.  The large triangular sheet of graphite is then dipped into a liquid plastic resin and rolled onto a tapered mandrel (steel rod).  As the sheet is rolled it is squeezed between two heated rollers.  Once the entire graphite sheet is wrapped around the mandrel, a polymer layer of cellophane or polyester is applied and heated to apply pressure on the resin as it cools.  After cooling, the polymer layer and mandrel are removed.  Light sanding is done and paint or protective coatings are applied to finish the rod 1, 2.  Steps can vary slightly depending on the quality of the rod but a good how to video is available by Clicking Here.

A section of the broken graphite fishing rod was scanned in our SkyScan 1172 microCT system.  As you can see in Figure 1, the graphite fiber plies and resin of the scanned fishing rod are visible.  The white areas are the bundles of graphite fibers and the dark gray regions between the fibers are the resin.  Looking at the 3D image (watch the video below), fiber bundles in the cross-thatch pattern consist of a single ply.  There are a total of five plies in the construction of this fishing rod (See Figure 1).

Graphite Fibers

Figure 1. Axial slice image showing graphite fiber bundles, resin and plies.

Further investigation shows that each of the plies is wrapped concentrically around the axis, with none of the plies oriented at different angles.  As mentioned earlier, the angled plies add to the strength of the rod.  Since I know the rod was inexpensive, it is not a surprise that the plies are wrapped in a simple pattern and hence were more prone to failure during rod flexion.  Overall, the log put up a good fight but the best catch was the microCT images!




Scan Specifications:

SkyScan 1172 Micro-CT



Pixel Size

Rotation Step:

Scan Time

NRecon, DataViewer, CTvox

Micro Photonics Imaging Laboratory, Allentown, PA

Courtesy of
Brandon Walters, Micro Photonics, Laboratory Manager

Related Products

Related Articles

Call Now Button

Coming Soon:

Customer access to tips and instructional videos, method notes, tutorials, application notes, and other content to support your research.


While we are not currently looking to fill a specific position at Micro Photonics, if helping others advance their research is something you are passionate about, then feel free to send us your resume so that we can keep it for further considerations when a position does become available.

Please submit resumes to:

Micro Photonics Inc.
1550 Pond Road, STE 110
Allentown, PA 18104


Due to Covid-19 restrictions, we will not be attending tradeshows in the near future. We are participating in webinars and virtual tradeshows and will post links to those as they are available.

Privacy Policy

What information do we collect? We collect information from you when you register on our site, place an order, subscribe to our newsletter or fill out a form. When ordering or registering on our site, as appropriate, you may be asked to enter your: name, e-mail address, mailing address, phone number or credit card information. You may, however, visit our site anonymously.
What do we use your information for? Any of the information we collect from you may be used in one of the following ways:

; To personalize your experience (your information helps us to better respond to your individual needs).

; To improve customer service (your information helps us to more effectively respond to your customer service requests and support needs).

; To process transactions. Your information, whether public or private, will not be sold, exchanged, transferred, or given to any other company for any reason whatsoever, without your consent, other than for the express purpose of delivering the purchased product or service requested.

; To send periodic emails .The email address you provide for order processing, will only be used to send you information and updates pertaining to your order.Note: If at any time you would like to unsubscribe from receiving future emails, we include detailed unsubscribe instructions at the bottom of each email.

Terms and Conditions

Terms of Service for

Introduction. Welcome to This website is owned and operated by Micro Photonics Inc. By visiting our website and accessing the information, resources, services, products, and tools we provide, you understand and agree to accept and adhere to the following terms and conditions as stated in this policy (hereafter referred to as ‘User Agreement’), along with the terms and conditions as stated in our Privacy Policy (please refer to the Privacy Policy section below for more information).

This agreement is in effect as of October 25, 2018.

We reserve the right to change this User Agreement from time to time without notice. You acknowledge and agree that it is your responsibility to review this User Agreement periodically to familiarize yourself with any modifications. Your continued use of this site after such modifications will constitute acknowledgment and agreement of the modified terms and conditions.

Responsible Use and Conduct. By visiting our website and accessing the information, resources, services, products, and tools we provide for you, either directly or indirectly (hereafter referred to as ‘Resources’), you agree to use these Resources only for the purposes intended as permitted by (a) the terms of this User Agreement, (b) the terms of any applicable confidentiality, non-disclosure, or other agreement between you and a third party, and (c) applicable laws, regulations and generally accepted online practices or guidelines.

US Partner Form