Composite Materials Types and Applications: A Review on Composite Materials

Composite Materials Types and Applications: A Review on Composite Materials

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4837-9.ch001


A composite is composed from two or more different materials that are combined together to create a superior and unique material. Composites are divided into three main categories according to the matrix type; Metal Matrix Composites, Ceramic Matrix Composites and Fiber Reinforced Polymeric Composites. In this chapter, a general overview of these categories will be done. More emphasis is on polymeric composites reinforced by textile fabrics. A brief introduction of synthetic and natural fibers is presented. Also, a general investigation on the world market of natural fiber concerning the production, development, research fields and main applications will be provided.
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Types Of Composite Materials

A composite material is defined as a material composed of at least two different materials. One of the materials has the role of a matrix and the other will be the reinforcement. A common example of a composite material is cement reinforced by steel rods. The cement is the matrix, which distributes the load and stresses through the rods, also, protecting it from environmental effects as humidity and corrosion. However, cement is considered as a brittle material and also tends to have brittle fractures under bending load due its low tensile strength. Thus, it needs to be reinforced by a high strength and though material. Steel rods will be the reinforcing phase in this composite material system, providing high resistance to bending loads and avoid brittle fractures. A composite material will provide a combination of physical properties different than that of one single material. This will enable material scientists to create different combination of materials compatible to a specific use.

The composites could be classified according to matrix and reinforcing types. The main types of matrices used are polymers, metals and ceramics. However, the reinforcement is available in different shapes, as particulates, short or long fibers, and nanotubes. Different materials are used as reinforcement, ranging from glass, carbon, aramid, ceramics (e.g. silicon carbide or alumina) and metals.

In the following, a brief overview of MMC, CMC and FRP is presented. Our main focus is on the FRP composites, and more specifically, composites reinforced with long fibers.

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