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All You Need to Know About Composite Materials

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A composite material refers to a combination of two materials with different physical and chemical properties. When combined, these two materials create a material that is specialized to carry out a certain job. For decades, composite materials have been used over traditional materials. This is primarily because composite materials usually improve the properties of their base materials.

Types of Composite Materials

There are several types of composite materials. Listed below are some of the widely known ones.

Ceramic Matrix Composite

Ceramic matrix composites are a well-known subgroup of composite materials. They consist of ceramic fibers embedded in a ceramic matrix. Ceramic matrix composites are widely used in the aerospace industry as well as the energy sector.

Sandwich Panel

A sandwich panel refers to a composite structural panel brought about by three or more materials being bonded together. Sandwich panels are widely popular. This can be attributed to the fact sandwich panels usually are pretty strong and durable. It’s also worth noting that not only are they easy to handle, they are also quite pleasing to the eye.

Reinforced Concrete

Reinforced concrete is a composite material in which concrete’s low tensile strength and ductility are countered by the inclusion of reinforcement (mostly steel reinforcing bars) with higher tensile strength and ductility. Reinforced concrete is usually used in the construction industry. This is because, unlike regular concrete, it can easily resist compression even when under immense tension.

Glass Fiber-Reinforced Concrete

Glass fiber reinforced concrete, just as its name suggests, is a type of fiber-reinforced concrete consisting of high-strength, alkali-resistant glass fiber embedded in a concrete mix. Used as architectural precast concrete and in constructing exterior building façade panels, this composite material is loved by several in the construction industry.

Translucent Concrete

Translucent concrete is a concrete based building material having light. To make translucent concrete, one requires fine concrete, consisting of cement and fine aggregates such as sand. One also requires optical fibers, of which there are three kinds: multimode graded-index fiber, multimode step-index fiber, and single-mode step-index fibers. The manufacturing process of translucent concrete is almost the same as regular concrete, although there are a couple of different steps one has to follow. As this composite material serves various purposes, it comes as no surprise that it’s loved by many.

Wood-Plastic Composite

Wood-plastic composite is an environmentally friendly composite material made of wood fibers and high-quality polymers. The combination of natural wood fibers and thermoplastics results in a pretty hardy material with a pretty elegant look. It can be used for decking, stairs, and cladding or siding for pergolas. As wood-plastic composite materials are usually relatively easy to maintain, many homeowners and commercial property owners are currently resorting to using them instead of normal wood and plastic materials.

Metal Matrix Composite

A metal matrix composite refers to a composite material with at least two constituents, one of which must be a metal. The other constituent may also be a metal, although of a different kind, or even a ceramic. In cases where the components are three, the resulting material is referred to as a hybrid composite. Different types of metal matrix composites tend to be used for different purposes. For example, on the one hand, a copper-silver alloy matrix is used as a substrate for high-power and high-density multi-chip modules in electronics. On the other hand, aluminum-graphite composites are used in power electronic modules because of their high thermal conductivity.

Engineered Wood

One of the current trends that many home and property owners are taking part in is the use of engineered wood. Engineered wood, also called composite wood, is a composite material derived by binding the strands, particles, fibers, or even boards of wood together with adhesives. This composite material can also be made using other methods of fixation. As mentioned before, many individuals are opting to use this material over standard wood. This is because, unlike regular wood, engineered wood tends to be relatively easy to clean. As plywood is water-resistant, it can be used in any part of a residence. It’s also worth noting that engineered wood is quite durable. If looking for a floor option for your home/office, choosing engineered wood would be a prudent move.

Plywood

Plywood is one of the most commonly used composite materials. Made of three or more thin layers of wood bonded together with a strong adhesive; plywood is pretty versatile. If currently constructing, using plywood instead of normal wood is advised given that plywood is relatively cheaper than the cost of regular wood.

Benefits of Composite Materials

With more and more information about innovative composite materials being released to the public, many are currently discovering the various benefits composite materials have. Here are some of the said benefits.

Durable

Composite materials usually are exceptionally durable. This is because, unlike traditional materials, they are bonded to various materials. This bonding inevitably increases the strength of the base products. By choosing to use composite materials instead of normal ones, you need not worry about frequent replacements as composite materials are extremely strong and durable.

Reliable

If you’re building a certain property, you should use composite materials. The reason behind this is that composite materials have proved to be pretty reliable. By using a composite material, you need not worry about being let down by the final result. Just as they’ve been of great help to many, composite materials can also be of great help to you.

Easy to Maintain

Many homeowners used to complain of their wood surfaces being pretty hard to clean and maintain in the past. There’s nothing as frustrating as being unable to appropriately clean and maintain your floors and even kitchen counters. Engineered wood is known to be pretty easy to clean and maintain. By choosing to replace your wood surfaces with engineered wood, you can rest assured you won’t have a struggle while cleaning.

Composite materials are the future. If you’ve got an ongoing construction project, do look into the composite materials you can use. You won’t regret this decision.

Taivan Acer
the authorTaivan Acer