Composites

A composite material (also called a composition material or shortened to composite, which is the common name) is a material made from two or more constituent materials with significantly different physical or chemical properties that, when combined, produce a material with characteristics different from the individual components. The individual components remain separate and distinct within the finished structure. The new material may be preferred for many reasons: common examples include materials which are stronger, lighter, or less expensive when compared to traditional materials.

Composite materials are generally used in aerospace, buildings, bridges, and structures such as boat hulls, impact resistant panels, racing car bodies, storage tanks etc.

Fibre-reinforced plastic (FRP) is a composite material made of a polymer matrix reinforced with fibres. The fibres are usually glass (in fibreglass), carbon (in carbon-fibre-reinforced polymer), aramid and kevlar. The polymer is usually an epoxy, vinyl ester, polyester thermosetting plastic, though phenol formaldehyde resins are still in use.

Bio composite (bio from Greek ‘alive’) is a composite material formed by a matrix (resin) and a reinforcement of natural fibres. These kind of materials often mimic the structure of the living materials involved in the process keeping the strengthening properties of the matrix that was used, but always providing bio-compatibility. The matrix phase is formed by polymers derived from renewable and non-renewable resources. In addition, natural fibres are the principal components of bio composites, which are derived from biological origins, for example fibres from crops (cotton, flax or hemp, banana, jute), recycled wood, waste paper, crop processing by-products or regenerated cellulose fibre (viscose/rayon). The interest in bio composites is rapidly growing in terms of industrial applications (automobiles, railway coach, aerospace, military applications, construction, and packaging) and fundamental research, due to its great benefits (renewable, cheap, recyclable, and biodegradable). Bio composites can be used alone, or as a complement to standard materials, such as carbon fibre. Advocates of bio composites state that use of these materials improve health and safety in their production, are lighter in weight, have a visual appeal similar to that of wood, and are environmentally superior.

MAFTREE has executed a number of collaborative research projects in this area and due to existing non-disclosure agreements, only key projects are highlighted here.

  • Optimisation of Fiber-Metal-Laminate for Impact Resistance
  • Tensile and Flexure Test Validation of Banana + Glass Fiber Reinforced Composites
  • Micro-capsule Integrated Carbon Fiber Composites – Crack Initiation Analysis
  • Tensile and Flexure Test Validation of Sisal Fibrous Composites
  • Carbon Nano Tube Dispersed Composites – Test Validation