A Repository of Textile Articles

Textile composite materials

A class of advanced materials, which are reinforced with textile preforms for structural or load bearing applications

A composite textile material (also called a composition material or shortened to composite) 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.

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A Brief History of Textile Composites

Archaeologists say humans have been using composites for at least 4,000 to 6,000 years. In ancient Egypt, bricks made from mud and straw to encase and reinforce wooden structures such as forts and monuments. In parts of Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas, indigenous cultures build structures from wattle (planks or strips of wood) and daub (a composite of mud or clay, straw, gravel, lime, hay, and other substances using a heat source for backing and drying from the sun).

Another advanced civilization, the Mongols, were also pioneers in the use of composites. Beginning around 1200 A.D., they began building high performance recurved reinforced bows out of wood, bone, and natural adhesive, wrapped with silk and pine resign (birch bark). These were far more powerful and accurate than simple wooden bows, helping Genghis Khan’s Mongolian Empire to spread across Asia.

The modern era of composites began in the 20th century with the invention of early plastics such as Bakelite and vinyl as well as engineered wood products like plywood. Another crucial composite, Fiberglas, was invented in 1935. It was far stronger than earlier composites, could be moulded and shaped, and was extremely lightweight and durable.

World War II hastened the invention of still more petroleum-derived composite materials, many of which are still in use today, including polyester. The 1960s saw the introduction of even more sophisticated composites, such as Kevlar and carbon fibre.

Definition of Composite Materials

A composite material (also called a composition material or shortened to composite) 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, differentiating composites from mixtures and solid solutions.

Loosely defined, a composite is a combination of two or more different materials that results in a superior (often stronger) product.

Classification of Composite Materials

How composite materials are classified? The composite materials are commonly classified based on matrix constituent. The major composite classes include Organic Matrix Composites (OMCs), Metal Matrix Composites (MMCs) and Ceramic Matrix Composites (CMCs). … These three types of matrixes produce three common types of composites.


Why we require composites

  • Superior weight- specific strength and stiffness
  • Broad flexibility in strength and stiffness tailoring
  • High resistance to fatigue damage
  • Chemical and corrosion resistance
  • Very low thermal expansion
  • Very high directional thermal conductivity
  • Thermal and radar signature control
  • Easy to make very complex geometries
  • Can introduce significant material dumping

Textile structural reinforced composites

“Textile” is defined as “…originally a woven fabric, but the term ‘textiles’ is now also applied to fibers, filaments and yarns, natural or man-made, and most products for which they are the principal raw materials. Hence, textiles are fibrous materials. Fibres in a textile are assembled into yarns or fibrous plies, which are arranged to form a textile fabric.

Textile structural composites represent a class of advanced materials, which are reinforced with textile preforms for structural or load bearing applications. As fibers and yarns in textiles are held together by friction, the yarns have to be bent or twisted to provide transversal forces, necessary for friction. The internal structure of a textile is the result of such bending of the yarns, introduced during manufacturing of the fabric.

The internal structure determines the interaction between the fibers and yarns in dry fabric during manufacturing, transferring the applied load to structural fibrous elements of the fabric, which resist the load by their deformation (primarily tension, bending/buckling, lateral compression and friction, and to a lesser extent torsion and shear).

The internal structure means yarn material and its structure and fabric structure determines the  performance of a consolidated composite as well: the stress response to the local deformation depends on the local orientation of fibers, which is imposed by there in for cement architecture, and in its turn define whether damage will be initiated in that particular location and whether it will propagate.

Structural Materials


Presently, textile structural composites are part of a larger category of composite materials (Shishoo et al 1971 and Wiemer et al 2000). In general, composites can be defined as a selected combination of dissimilar materials with a specific internal structure and external shape. The unique combination of two material components leads to singular mechanical BEHAVIOR OF TEXTILE PREFORMS DURING COMPOSITE MANUFACTURING

Composite manufacturing techniques, used for textile reinforcements, are covered in Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Composites: Manufacturing and Certification Issues. Two main processes involved during the manufacturing are shaping of a textile preform on a three-dimensional mould and impregnation of the preform with resin. The behaviour of the preform during manufacturing is determined correspondingly by its formability and permeability.

The formability (drapability) of a textile fabric reflects the easiness of the initially flat fabric to conform to (drape over) a given 3D shape. The permeability of the preform is a tensor coefficient K of Darcy equation, relating the flow velocity of a fluid through the porous medium to the pressure gradient.


How composites changed materials technology:

  1. Materials by design

    A distinct advantage of composites, over other materials, is the flexibility of design. By using many combinations of resins and reinforcements, one can design a composite to meet specific strength requirements. Advanced composites for the aerospace industry are thus tailored to perform a specific set of functions in a specific environment. Composites opened up the era of materials by design when high modulus continuous fibres such as aramid or carbon fibres were introduced. They are not randomly oriented like short fibres but carefully aligned into a unidirectional tape. Making such composites is a laborious process with many steps, the end product is more expensive than the standard materials used in mass-production. However, they offer higher performances for a specific use.

  2. Crossing Boundaries

    Because they associate various families of traditional materials in one single structure, composites encouraged the hybridization of independent industrial traditions. Glass companies and textile industry began to cooperate on the production of fibreglass in the 1950s. Glass manufactures and chemical companies, and also metallurgy and ceramics technologies, had to learn from each other to manufacture composites.

  3. Systems approach

    The technology of composites helped develop a systems approach in materials research. In order to design composites with more than the sum of the properties of their individual components, a parallel synergy should be created between the various experts involved in the design of the composite material and cooperation between customers and suppliers.

Textile Composite Material (TCM): Application of composites

AS defined earlier two inherently different materials are mixed to form a new material called composite material which is different to both but better in properties. To develop enabling technology for Textile Composite Material (TCM) that can be applied in the textiles and clothing industry.

Fibre-reinforced composite materials have gained popularity (despite their generally high cost) in high-performance products that need to be lightweight, yet strong enough to take harsh loading conditions such as aerospace components (tails, wings, fuselages, propellers), boat and scull hulls, bicycle frames and racing car bodies. Other uses include fishing rods, storage tanks, swimming pool panels, and baseball bats.

The Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 structures including the wings and fuselage are composed largely of composites. Composite materials are also becoming more common in the realm of orthopaedic surgery, and it is the most common hockey stick material.

Carbon composite is a key material in today’s launch vehicles and heat shields for the re-entry phase of spacecraft. It is widely used in solar panel substrates, antenna reflectors and yokes of spacecraft. It is also used in payload adapters, inter-stage structures and heat shields of launch vehicles. Furthermore, disk brake systems of aeroplanes and racing cars are using carbon/carbon material, and the composite material with carbon fibres and silicon carbide matrix has been introduced in luxury vehicles and sports cars.

In 2006, a fibre-reinforced composite pool panel was introduced for in-ground swimming pools, residential as well as commercial, as a non-corrosive alternative to galvanized steel.

Application of textile composite material in aeronautics

Composite materials are replacing day by day the conventional metallic materials due to their light weight, high strength, design flexibility and long life. Especially for aeronautical applications due to their relatively higher strength, more uniform properties and reduced manufacturing cost and a note on thermoplastic and thermoset resins.

The new Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger airliner, makes use of modern composites in its design.  More than 20 % of the A380 is made of composite materials, mainly plastic reinforced with carbon fibres.  The design is the first large-scale use of glass-fibre-reinforced aluminium, a new composite that is 25 % stronger than conventional airframe aluminium but 20 % lighter.

The two constituents of the composites are called matrix and resin. Today,  the use of composites has evolved to commonly incorporate a structural fibre and a plastic, this is known as Fiber Reinforced Plastics or FRP for short. Like straw, the fibre provides the structure and strength of the composite, while a plastic polymer holds the fibre together. Common types of fibres used in FRP composites include:

  • Fibreglass
  • Carbon fibre
  • Aramid fibre
  • Boron fibre
  • Basalt fibre
  • Natural fibre (wood, flax, hemp, etc.)

Adhesives are found throughout everyday life. Sometimes it is obvious such as a sealed cereal box or reminding yourself with a Post-It® note. Other times, it is much more subtle, like the adhesives used within the frame of an automobile, making it stronger and more impact resistant or the adhesives used to seal medical devices such as needles, oxygen masks and catheters. Whether it’s noticed every day or barely seen, Ellsworth Adhesives has an adhesive for every application.

Common plastic resins used in composites include:

  • Epoxy
  • Vinyl Ester
  • Polyester
  • Polyurethane
  • Polypropylene
  • Acrylic
  • Anaerobic
  • Cyanoacrylate
  • Hot Melt
  • Silicon

Smart methacrylate adhesives for composites, metals and plastics

SCIGRIP offers a cutting-edge range of MMA structural adhesives that are unrivalled for their combination of strength, toughness and ease of use. SCIGRIP’s advanced MMA technology bridges the gap between epoxies and polyurethanes, providing all the benefits of toughness, fatigue resistance and high peel strength while maintaining the highest lap shear performance. Suitable for bonding a wide range of substrates with little to no surface preparation, SCIGRIP adhesives speed up the build process.

Typical properties of some reinforcements


The 1990s saw a growing mood of cautious optimism within the composite’s community worldwide that textile-based composites will give rise to new composite material applications in a wide range of areas. Consequently, a wide range of textile reinforced composites is under development/ investigation or in production. Textile reinforcement is thus likely to provide major new areas of opportunity for composite materials in the future. The main advantages of composite materials are their high strength and stiffness, combined with low density, when compared with bulk materials, allowing for a weight reduction in the finished part.

Acknowledgement: Technical and technological Facts in this write up has been selected from various sources. Wish to thank all authors and organizations for the information provided, which was a great source of inspiration in the preparation of this article.

1 Comment
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