Many different techniques are used in the creation of various building and products. The key objective is to pinpoint the most important physical properties as required by the application, and to identify the material that best meets the physical property requirements at the optimal price point. Durability has always been a major focus of any material in any application. Before, certain elements and materials have been rated as more or less durable and therefore selected for certain projects. More recently, it has been discovered that some of the already existing materials can be combined in such a way as to emphasize the best features out of both of the original materials. These newly created materials from combining two or more materials are known as composite materials. For example, one of the most common composites which we encounter constantly in our daily lives is concrete. Concrete is a blend between steel rebar and cured cement. These two components, once combined, create a powerful new material, which has the strength of steel rebar, as well as the stability and stiffness of cement at the same time.
Why do composites exist?
Composites are created with the goal of creating new materials with better physical properties. These materials can most commonly be found in construction, where new materials are invented all of the time, in order to increase the stability and durability of construction. Nevertheless, composite materials have found their way into all industries as product developers continually push for better, stronger, lighter, etc. materials. Composites are employed in the creation of aircraft and boats; they are even be used to create good quality sport equipment, such as golf clubs, hockey sticks and surf boards. Indeed, composites have a wide use already.
Which materials are combined to be composites?
Fiber reinforced plastics are one of the most commonly employed composite materials in industry today. The most widespread kinds of these plastics are fiberglass, boron and basalt fiber, carbon fibers, aramid fibers and boron fibers as well. You may recognize some of them, especially the carbon fibers, which are a very common component of composite materials due to their amazing ability to strengthen a material. These are used to build interior seats for sports cars and the dashboard panels and countless other applications.
The reasons composites are used so often is because by combining two separate materials, if successful, the new material can combine the strengths and best qualities of the original materials resulting in a better, stronger material. These methods are also used to minimize or eliminate any of the weaknesses of one of the original materials. For example, some materials may be prone to corrosion, which may make them an undesirable choice. If combined with another material that is resistant to corrosion, the resulting material may completely eliminate any corrosion concerns. The same can be said for increasing a material’s durability. The main reason composites are created is to emphasize certain material’s strengths, and to improve their performance and make them much more applicable to a wide variety of applications and industry. Composite materials have had a significant impact in design, because they are very flexible and easily adjusted to meet new material challenges and goals.