10 Sep 2013

What is Composite?

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Composite materials are made from two or more constituent materials with different physical or chemical properties which when combined form a material with characteristics different from the individual components. The individual components remain separate and distinct within the finished structure, resulting in a finished product that is stronger, lighter or less expensive than traditional materials.

Composite polymers are therefore materials that are created when at least glass fibres and resin are combined together. Most of the time some other components such as fillers and additives are added to the mix to improve certain properties of the material during manufacturing and in final use.

Fibre reinforced polymers (FRP) are a group of composite materials made of a polymer matrix that mechanically enhances their strength and other mechanical behaviours by using fibre materials. Their main applications include the automotive, construction, aerospace and marine industries, the military and lately electrical utilities.

The oldest composite is adobe where straw and clay and other ingredients are mixed together. One of the most elaborate ancient composite applications is bows made of bone, wood, sinew laminated together with some adhesive. Great empires were built using this technology that was considered the highest level in their time. The most advanced application of composites currently is in the spacecraft components.

The fibres used in composites today are typically glass, carbon, basalt or aramid (one of them runs the trade name Kevlar). The polymer is generally an epoxy, vinyl ester, polyester, thermosetting plastic, phenol formaldehyde resin and the latest and the most advanced polyurethane.

FRP are created using two separate processes; the first process involves the manufacture and forming of the fibrous material, the second process involves bonding the fibrous material with the matrix.

FRP enables glass fibres of composites to be designed specifically to the needs of a certain application. Altering the orientation of the fibres can increase the strength of the element in the required direction. Reinforced polymers are strongest when the polymer fibres are parallel to the force direction and weakest when they are perpendicular to the force. Weak spots can be used as natural hinges.  The orientation of the fibres is therefore are very important and they are usually oriented in two- and three-dimensional weaves to suite specific inner stress-strain structural demands.

FRP Transmission Innovation has produced a range of cross arms and cross beams constructed from fibre reinforced polymers using the most advanced polyurethane resin available, making it possible to create a material that is lighter and stronger than before. Compared to traditional materials like wood or steel, the cross arms and cross beams have a lower lifecycle cost, are less expensive, simpler and faster to install, and they are maintenance free.

To find out more about Transmission Innovation’s line of products check out our products page or call us at +1 778 285-8447.