Composite materials become the best alternative to traditional materials

2020-09-21 10:42:56

News & Events

Composite materials become the best alternative to traditional materials

The main two components of composite materials include reinforcement materials (usually high-performance fibers, such as carbon fiber, glass fiber, aramid fiber, etc.) and matrix materials (such as epoxy resin, etc.), which combine reinforcement and matrix materials. Many of the best properties comparable to traditional materials can be achieved.

     In industries ranging from aerospace to renewable energy, composite materials are improving their design processes and final products. Almost every year, composite materials replace traditional materials such as steel and aluminum. As the cost of composite materials decreases and design flexibility increases, fiber-reinforced composite materials such as carbon fiber and glass fiber provide engineers with new design opportunities.

1. The composite material has a high strength-to-weight ratio

The biggest advantage of composite materials is the high strength-to-weight ratio. Carbon fiber weighs approximately 25% of steel and 70% of aluminum, and is stronger than the two materials. High-end automotive engineers use composite materials to reduce vehicle weight by as much as 60% while improving crash safety. Multi-layer composite laminates can absorb more energy than traditional single-layer steel. Utilizing the excellent properties of composite materials is beneficial to both manufacturers and consumers.

2. The composite material is durable

Regardless of its application environment, the composite material will not rust (although it is prone to corrosion when bonded to metal parts). The fracture toughness of composite materials is lower than that of metals, but higher than most polymers. Composite materials have high dimensional stability, so they can always maintain their shape in hot or cold, humid or dry environments, which makes them the first choice for outdoor structures such as wind turbine blades. Engineers usually choose composite materials instead of traditional materials to reduce maintenance costs and ensure long-term stability.

 3. Composite materials provide new design options

Composite materials provide design options that are difficult to achieve with traditional materials. Composite materials allow the integration of parts; a single composite part can replace the complete assembly of metal parts; the surface texture can be changed to imitate any surface treatment. More than 90% of leisure boat hulls are made of composite materials, partly because glass fiber can be molded into various boat shapes. In the long run, these benefits can save production time and reduce maintenance costs.

 4. Composite materials are easier to produce

In the past, engineers had to use complex layup processes to make composite materials, which was time consuming and limited the design geometry. Digital Compound Manufacturing (DCM) technology has changed this situation. DCM can manufacture composite parts without labor. Using DCM, composite materials can be customized in three dimensions to create the appropriate strength, density, and flexibility for the target product. DCM enables engineers to design the flexibility of 3D printing, combined with high-performance composite materials.

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