The team found that the inherent disorder in this particular resin (phenol-formaldehyde) formed 3D connections that are not only tough to break, but only require a fraction of the usual carbon atoms to create their structure — you could use much more of it in a vehicle and still have a lighter design. If you bake the resin at any temperature higher than 1,832F, the atoms become more orderly and weaker.
It’s easy to see use cases: you could see more efficient aircraft and cars that travel further and faster without compromising their strength. And the researchers see even more potential in the long run. You could get even more resilient carbon fiber by wrapping it in other structures (such as nanotubes), or take advantage of the weight savings to include sensors.
An interesting read via Joystiq