Composite Materials Lab at SU
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What are composite materials?

Harrier Jump JetComposite materials combine two or more separate materials on a macroscopic scale. The advantage is that the composite material's characteristics, such as strength, stiffness, flammability, etc. can be tailored to a particular need or application. Typical composite materials are fiberglass, which consists of glass fibers embedded in a polyester resin (referred to as a matrix), or graphite/ epoxy, which consists of carbon fibers embedded in an epoxy matrix. Some newer composites include metal matrix composites, which combine a metal's ductility with the strength and stiffness of carbon or boron fibers, and ceramic matrix composites which can perform in a much higher-temperature regime than organic polymers or most engineering metals.

Composites are used in a wide variety of applications including:

  • military/defense
  • aerospace
  • automotive
    • drive shafts
    • engine components
    • bearings
    • seals
  • sporting goods
    • golf clubs
    • tennis rackets
    • bicycles
    • skis
  • medical applications
  • electronics
  • household applications
    • furniture
    • storage tanks
    • beams

They are used to replace conventional materials (such as metals and plastics) in order to save weight and energy, reduce part count and assembly cost, and often to fill a structural requirement that could not be met with conventional materials.

To learn more about the composites, as well as their design, manufacture, and testing, use the links below.

Introduction to Composites Design and Manufacturing Testing of Componsites

Barry D. Davidson,