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.
How composites changed materials technology
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.
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.
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.