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What is a Composite?

A composite is made of two or more materials that have significantly different properties from each other and when combine together.

For example, a flexible solid REINFORCEMENT can be embedded with a liquid MATRIX to create a rigid solid COMPOSITE.

What is a Composite? Reinforcement NORCO Composites & GRP

Chopped Strand Mat
(Reinforcement)

What is a Composite? Matrix NORCO Composites & GRP

Polyester Resin & Catalyst
(Matrix)

What is a Composite? NORCO Composites & GRP

Structure
(Composite)

COMPOSITES IN NATURE

Composites can be found throughout nature.

Wood is made from cellulose fibres (reinforcement) and a much weaker substance called lignin (matrix).

Bones in your body are made from a hard and brittle material called hydroxyapatite (reinforcement) and a soft and flexible material called collagen (matrix).

When the two weaker reinforcement and matrix materials are combined, they form a much stronger material called a composite.

PRINCIPLES OF FIBRE REINFORCED COMPOSITES

The reinforcement (fibres) provides strength and stiffness to the matrix and helps prevent cracks or fractures.

The matrix (resin) protects the reinforcement from external and environmental damage and transfers the load between the fibres.

The resulting composite can be formed into complex shapes while being stiff, durable, and lightweight.

TYPES OF FIBRE REINFORCEMENT

There are many different types of fibre reinforcements that can be used to create composites.

The two most common are carbon and glass fibres.

Carbon is stronger and lighter than a glass reinforcement fibre. However, glass has a lower cost to manufacture.

Carbon

Carbon Continuous Fibre - NORCO Composite & GRP

Continuous Carbon Fibre

Chopped Carbon Fibre - NORCO Composite & GRP

Chopped Carbon Fibre

Woven Carbon - NORCO Composite & GRP

Woven Carbon Mat

Chopped Carbon Mat - NORCO Composite & GRP

Chopped Carbon Mat

Glass

Glass Continuous Fibre - NORCO Composite & GRP

Continuous Glass Fibre

Chopped Glass Fibre - NORCO Composite & GRP

Chopped Glass Fibre

Woven Fibreglass Mat - NORCO Composite & GRP

Woven Fibreglass Mat

Chopped Strand Mat - NORCO Composite & GRP

Chopped Strand Mat

MATRIX FOR FIBRE REINFORCEMENT

The matrix is essentially a binder that holds the reinforcement together, it normally comes in a liquid form and is in two parts consisting of a resin and a catalyst.

Once resin and catalyst have been mixed, the chemical reaction starts and the two components begin to harden.

Typical types of resin for fibre reinforcement are Polyester, Vinyl Ester, Epoxy, Phenolic, Bismaleimide, Cyanate Ester.

Polyester Resin - NORCO Composite & GRP

Polyester Resin and Catalyst

Epoxy Resin - NORCO Composite & GRP

Epoxy Resin and Hardener

EXAMPLES OF FIBRE COMPOSITES

WHY USE COMPOSITES?

The benefit of modern composite materials is that they are strong as well as light.

By selecting an appropriate combination of reinforcement and matrix material, a new composite material can be created that meets the requirements of an application.

Also, composites offer design flexibility because they can be moulded into complex shapes.

COMPOSITE PROCESSING

Learn how composites are made

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KNOWLEDGE BASE

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