A “composite” is when two or more different materials are combined together to create a superior and unique material. This is an extremely broad definition that holds true for all composites, however, more recently the term “composite” describes reinforced plastics.
Composite Materials Include:
1. Composite Building Material such as Cement, Concrete.. 2. Reinforced Plastics such as, Fiber – Reinforced Polymer. 3. Metal Composites 4. Ceramic Composites (Composite Ceramic & Metal Matrices )
Background on Composites
The history of composites dates back to ancient times for construction applications; straw was mixed with mud to form a building material known as adobe.
The straw provided the structure and strength, while the mud acted as a binder, holding the straw together in place.
Since the days of adobe, the use of composites has evolved to commonly incorporate a structural fiber and a plastic, this is known as Fiber Reinforced Plastics, or FRP for short. Like straw, the fiber provides the structure and strength to the composite, while a plastic polymer holds the fiber together.
- Carbon Fiber
- Aramid Fiber
- Boron Fiber
- Basalt Fiber
- Natural Fiber (Wood, Flax, Hemp, etc.)
In the case of fiberglass, hundreds of thousands of tiny glass fibers are compiled together and held rigidly in place by a plastic polymer resin . Common plastic resins used in composites include:
- Vinyl Ester
Types of Composite
- Laminated Composite or Laminar Composite or Sandwich Composite
- Fiber Reinforced Composite
- Particulate Composite
Examples of Composites
The most common example of a “composite” in a broad sense is concrete. In this use,structural steel rebar provides the strength and stiffness to the concrete, while the cured cement holds the rebar stationary. Rebar alone would flex too much and cement alone would crack easily.