COMPOSITES - GRP, GLASS CARBON & KEVLAR
Composite materials (or composites for short) are engineered materials made from two or more constituent materials that remain separate and distinct on a macroscopic level while forming a single component.
There are two categories of constituent materials: matrix and reinforcement. At least one portion (fraction) of each type is required. The matrix material surrounds and supports the reinforcement materials by maintaining their relative positions. The reinforcements impart special physical (mechanical and electrical) properties to enhance the matrix properties. A synergism produces material properties unavailable from naturally occurring materials. Due to the wide variety of matrix and reinforcement materials available, the design potential is incredible.
Glassfiber roving strands
This great variety has resulted in an enormous lexicon that confounds both new and experienced students. Names and descriptors arise from the respective experiences of different perspectives. While different industries use different terms to describe the same things, the same term can be applied in vastly different contexts.
Many commercially produced composites use a polymer matrix material often called a resin or resin solution. There are many different polymers available depending upon the starting raw ingredients. There are several broad categories, each with numerous variations. The most common categories are known as polyester, vinyl ester, epoxy, phenolic, polyimide, polyamide, and others. The reinforcement materials are often fibers but also commonly ground minerals. Fibers are often transformed into a textile material such as a felt, fabric, knit or stitched construction.
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