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What is a Composite

A combination of two or more materials to form

a new material system .

Reinforcement + Matrix = Composite

What are Composites?

 Composites: A combination of two or more materials

(reinforcement, resin, filler, etc.), differing in form or
composition on a macroscale. Design materials with
properties better than those of conventional materials
(metals, ceramics, or polymers). These materials,
usually man-made, that are a three- dimensional
combination of at least two chemically distinct
materials. There are combinations of two materials in
which one of the materials, called the reinforcing
phase, is in the form of fibers, sheets, or particles, and
is embedded in the other materials called the matrix
phase. The reinforcing material and the matrix
material can be metal, ceramic, or polymer.
 Examples:
1. Concrete= cement matrix + sand/gravel
Phases of Composites
 Matrix Phase: Polymers, Metals, Ceramics
Also, continuous phase, surrounds other phase (e.g.:
metal, ceramic, or polymer)

 Reinforcement Phase: Fibers, Particles, or Flakes

Also, dispersed phase, discontinuous phase (e.g.:
metal, ceramic, or polymer)

 Examples:
– Jello and cole slaw/mixed fruit
– Peanut brittle
– Straw in mud
– Wood (cellulose fibers in hemicellulose and lignin)
– Bones (soft protein collagen and hard apatite minerals)
– Pearlite (ferrite and cementite)
Factors in Creating Composites
 Factors in creating composites:
– Matrix material
– Reinforcement material
 Composites are a combination of two or more distinct materials
 Fiber reinforced polymers (FRP)
Fibers (carbon or glass) And Resins (epoxy matrix)
Characteristics Of Composite

(I) Heterogeneity: Non-uniformity of the chemical/physical structure

(II) Anisotropy: Direction dependence of the physical properties

(III) Symmetry: Tensorial nature of material properties

(IV) Hierarchy: Stacking of individual structural units

Classification of Composites
Composite materials are commonly classified at following two
distinct levels:
1. The first level of classification: is usually made with respect
to the matrix constituent. The major composite classes include
Organic Matrix Composites (OMCs), Metal Matrix
Composites (MMCs) and Ceramic Matrix Composites
(CMCs). The term organic matrix composite is generally
assumed to include two classes of composites, namely
Polymer Matrix Composites (PMCs) and carbon matrix
composites commonly referred to as carbon-carbon
2. The second level of classification: refers to the reinforcement
form - fibre reinforced composites, laminar composites and
particulate composites. Fibre reinforced composites can be
further divided into those containing discontinuous or
continuous fibres.
Advantages of Composites
1. Low weight, high specific properties (many natural, and
biological materials are composites)

2. Use of extremely high property (strength and modulus)


3. Design flexibility: the “rule-of-mixtures” - an additional

design degree of freedom


Disadvantages of Composites

 High cost of raw materials.

 Composites are more brittle than wrought metals

and thus are more easily damaged.

 Matrix is weak, therefore, low toughness.

 Reuse and disposal may be difficult.

 Difficult to attach.