Understanding Composites and What Makes a Material Composite

So what are composites exactly? Are they something extremely complex? I know most of the people reading thing right now is very well versed on what composites are, but for the sake of helping out everyone, our team have decided to start with the very basic of basics when it comes to composite materials. The importance of knowing the basics and having a good foundation of a subject is the key to understanding the deeper aspects of the subject and formulate new ideas, so for now let us have a quick refresher course about composite materials.

creation-of-mudbricksIn order to truly understand composites we must go back to the original composite material. The first composite material was made out of two things found in nature, mud and straw, the mud bounded together could form a brick, mixing straw in it allows the fiber to strengthen the material, this was the birth of manmade composite materials. Basically composite materials are made of two or more monolithic materials which when mixed together properly, creates a strong material.

 

The use of composite materials are for instances when a single building material is not durable or sturdy enough for a specific application. For example, when building a bridge you cannot merely use cement, as it is not strong enough, but when mixed with gravel and some steel grids you have a strong and durable material that can be used to build a sturdy bridge.

 

construction operation of filling metal lattice with concrete
construction operation of filling metal lattice with concrete

 

Fiberglass
Fiberglass

Depending on what you need, you look for materials with certain features and combine them together, although not as simple and straightforward in practice. A good example would be fiberglass; fiberglass is used for its light weight feature and sturdiness, it is simply two materials, resin and fiber. The easily moldable material is formed to the shape it is needed before it is hardened and or laminated; it is then cut according to specifications for use, which results into a durable material.

The two main components of composite materials the matrix and the reinforcement, though composite materials can be made with several materials, they are categorized by these the two components.  In the bridge example, the cement is the matrix, while the gravel and steel are the reinforcement. Basically the matrix forms the shape and incases the reinforcement, and the reinforcement strengthens the material with its fiber (or similar feature).

We use composite materials for everyday objects, like for construction of things like bridges, houses, and roads, but it goes beyond that, as we also use them for aircrafts, ballistic shielding, and even art. The importance of composite material is becoming more and more relevant, as even space agencies are considering specific composite materials for the use of experimental colonies on other planets.

Our goal is to teach about the basics of composite materials, the proper methods in creating composite materials, and maintain standards in the creation of composite materials. We believe that the future of civilization and the expansion of humanity lies with the advancement of composite materials.