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.
Chopped Strand Mat
Polyester Resin & Catalyst
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.
Continuous Carbon Fibre
Chopped Carbon Fibre
Woven Carbon Mat
Chopped Carbon Mat
Continuous Glass Fibre
Chopped Glass Fibre
Woven Fibreglass Mat
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.
Polyester Resin and Catalyst
Epoxy Resin and Hardener
EXAMPLES OF FIBRE COMPOSITES
Suspension Crew Seat NORCO- Composites & GRP 8
First Production Atlas Workboat Crane
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.