Composites: The realm of possibilities


Composites are two or more materials with different physical or chemical properties which are embedded in a matrix to form a material. Over the years, composites have become the integral part in construction industry. At the ancient age, straw and mud were combined as man-made composite materials to form bricks for building construction wherein straw used to provide the structure and strength and mud used to act as binder, holding the straw together in place.

Benefits of composite

The biggest benefit of modern composite materials is that they are light as well as strong. A new material can be made by choosing an appropriate combination of matrix and reinforcement that meets the requirement of a particular application. Many composites can be mould into complex shapes which results in design flexibility. The most important benefits of composites are non-corrosion, non-conduction, flexibility, low maintenance, long life, design flexibility and in addition they will not dent

Modern examples

The first modern composite material was fibreglass reinforced composite. It is used for boat hulls, sports equipment, building panels and many car bodies. The matrix is a resin and the reinforcement is glass that has been made into fine threads and often woven into a sort of cloth. The glass is very strong but brittle and it will break if bent sharply. Therefore the plastic matrix holds the glass fibres together and protects them from damage by sharing out the forces acting on them.

Glass fibre

Glass fibre is one of the most common fibres in the composites industry. Glass fibre is fairly cheap which can be very beneficial for production of large structures. Today it is commonly being used in the production of large composite structures like boats and wind turbines.

It also provides a good chemical resistance to acids and solvents. Unique features of glass fibre include low moisture absorption, high strength, heat resistance and low dielectric constant.

Fibre-Reinforced Polymer

Fibre-Reinforced Polymer (FRP), also known as fibre-reinforced plastic, is defined as a polymer that is reinforced with a fibre. This is commonly used in the aerospace, automotive, marine, and construction industries. Primarily, fibre reinforcement's function is to carry load along the length of the fibre and to provide strength and stiffness in one direction. Today, advanced FRP composites have become essential materials for the building of new structures due to their superior quality in terms of corrosion resistance, abrasion resistance, heat resistance and durability.


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