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COMPOSITES
A composite is a structural material, which consists of combining two or more constituents. The constituents are combined at a macroscopic level and are not soluble in each other. One constituent is called the reinforcing phase and the one in which it is embedded is called the matrix. The reinforcing phase material may be in the form of fibers, particles, or flakes. The matrix phase materials are generally continuous. Examples of composite systems Concrete reinforced with steel. Plastics reinforced with glass or carbon fibers. Epoxy reinforced with graphite fibers. Examples of naturally found composites Composite Material Matrix Reinforcement Wood Lignin Cellulose fibers Bone Minerals Collagen fibers

Advanced Composites  Advanced composites are composite materials, which are traditionally used in the aerospace industries.  These composites have high performance reinforcements of a thin diameter in a matrix material such as epoxy and aluminium. Classification of Composites By the geometry of the reinforcement - Particulate - Fiber - Flake By the type of matrix - Polymer - Metal - Ceramic Advantages of using composites over metals Monolithic metals and their alloys cannot always meet the demands of today's advanced technologies.  Only by using composite materials one can meet the performance requirements.  In many cases using composites is more efficient.  For example, in the highly competitive air line market, one is continuously looking for ways to lower the overall mass of the aircraft without decreasing the stiffness and strength of its components. This is possible by replacing conventional metal alloys with composite materials. Even if the composite material costs may be higher, the 

       Other Advantages Improved strength Stiffness Fatigue & Impact resistance Thermal conductivity Corrosion resistance. Mechanical characterization of a composite structure is more complex than that of a metal structure. components. Limitations High cost of fabrication. The general class of nano composite materials is a fast growing area of research. non-linear optics. battery cathodes and ionics. This rapidly expanding field is generating many exciting new materials with novel properties. Nano composites promise new applications in many fields such as mechanically reinforced lightweight A low-to-medium-volume contact mold method suitable for making boats. housings and building panels for prototypes and for other large parts requiring high strength. Significant effort is focused on the ability to obtain control of nano scale structures via innovative synthetic approaches.  Repair of composites is difficult. nano-wires. Processing of Polymer Matrix Composites Hand Lay-up Process Description A pigmented gel coat is first applied to the mold by spray gun for a high-quality surface. The properties of nano composite materials depend not only on the properties of their individual parents but also on their morphology and interfacial characteristics. which are unknown in the parent constituent materials. and these give rise to nano composites. fiberglass reinforcement (usually mat or .reduction in the number of parts in an assembly and the savings in fuel costs make them more profitable. There is also possibility of new properties. When the gel coat has become tacky. tanks. sensors and other systems. etc. Applications of Composites Aircraft Automotive Space shuttle Sporting goods Medical devices Military Marine NANO COMPOSITES Very narrow particles (on the nanometer scale) can also be used.

The laminate may be cored or stiffened with honeycomb. With good operator skill. simple processing. Squeegees or rollers are used to densify the laminate. and commercial refrigeration display cases. or autoclave methods may be used to speed cure. Also. Resin Systems General-purpose. tanks. open mold method similar to hand lay-up in its suitability for making boats. pressure bag. (Vacuum bag. one-piece. There is a minimum investment in equipment. and improve offmold surface finish. balsa. Layers of fiberglass mat or woven roving and resin are added for thickness. Design changes are readily made. thoroughly wetting the reinforcement with the resin. brushing. of any size. and removing entrapped air. and wide range of part size. SPRAY-UP A low-to-medium-volume. single-cavity. increase glass content. Molds Simple.Catalysts and accelerators are added to the resin system to allow the resin to cure without external heat. The laminate thus deposited is densified with rollers or squeegees to remove air . either male or female. Process Description Fiberglass continuous strand roving is fed through a combination chopper and spray gun. good production rates and consistent quality are obtainable. or spraying. room-temperature curing polyesters which will not drain or sag on vertical surfaces. The base resin is applied by pouring. tub/ shower units. The amounts of catalyst and accelerator are dictated by the working time necessary and overall thickness of the finished part. This device simultaneously deposits chopped roving and catalyzed resin onto the mold.) Major Advantages Simplest method offering low-cost tooling. foam plastic. cloth) is manually placed on the mold. and other simple medium-to-largesize shapes such as truck roofs. certain epoxies. vent hoods. Greater shape complexity is possible with spray-up than with hand lay-up. or other materials to provide weight reduction or flotation.

Resin Systems General-purpose. low-cost tooling. Cure is usually at room temperature or may be accelerated by moderate application of heat. Also.and thoroughly work the resin into the reinforcing strands. simple processing. virtually no part size limitations.) Pressure eliminates voids and drives excess resin and air out of the laminate. usually one-piece. and provides better adhesion between layers of sandwich construction. Woven roving is occasionally added to the laminate for specific strength orientation. Molds Simple. Major Advantages Simple. . This technique is useful when part complexity is great. and air pressure is applied between the rubber sheet and a pressure plate. as with hand lay-up molds. and forces excess resin and air from the mold. a superior surface finish may be achieved by first spraying gel coat onto the mold prior to spray-up of the substrate. and a vacuum drawn. its joints sealed. Pressure Bag Molding A tailored rubber sheet is placed against the finished lay-up or spray-up. (Steam may be applied to heat the resin to accelerate cure. The addition of pressure further results in higher glass concentration. room-temperature curing polyesters. either male or female. VACUUM BAG MOLDING A flexible film (PVA or cellophane) is placed over the completed lay-up or sprayup. low heat-curing polyesters. then disassembled when removing the part. As with hand lay-up. Occasionally molds may be assembled in several pieces. core materials are easily incorporated. The process may be automated. Atmospheric pressure eliminates voids in the laminate. portable equipment permits on-site fabrication. densifying it and improving the off-mold surface finish. This process is not compatible with male molds. Additional layers of chopped roving and resin may be added as required for thickness. single-cavity.

or a combination of methods. Mold cost is low to moderate. generally . Process can use low-cost continuous strand roving. hollow. which provides additional heat and pressure. Molds Steel "clamshell" molds. PRESSURE BAG MOLDING Suited primarily to the production of seamless FRP tanks for water softening. filtration tanks. chemical-resistant. mat fabrication. producing greater laminate densification and faster cure. Resin Systems Polyesters. Heat is applied and the part is cured within the mold. This process is usually employed in the production of highperformance laminates using epoxy resin systems in aircraft and aerospace applications. Translucent containers which permit visual inspection of their contents can be produced by this process. water handling and storage applications. the bag is deflated and pulled through an opening at one end of the molded part. The part is then removed from the mold.Autoclave Molding Either vacuum bag or pressure bag process can be further modified by the use of an autoclave. and fire extinguisher tanks. When cure is complete. Resin is injected into the mold and the pressure bag is inflated to about 275 kPa (40 psi). Major Advantages Specialized process yields pressure vessels of one-piece construction at moderately high production rates. Color can be molded in. Comparatively inexpensive for metal closed molds. chopped in preform processing. An inflatable elastic pressure bag is positioned within the preform and the assembly placed into a cold closed mold. low-moistureabsorption types. FILAMENT WINDING A process resulting in a high degree of fiber orientation and high glass loading to provide extremely high tensile strengths in the manufacture of hollow. Large vessels are possible with the process. general-purpose and semi rigid. Process Description A fiberglass preform is made by spray-up. with provisions for injection of resin.

and fishing rods. Reinforcement is fed through a resin bath and wound onto a suitable mandrel (pre-impregnated roving may also be used). Some mandrels are designed to be collapsible. structural shapes beams. Integral vessel closures and fittings may be wound into the laminate. which form the inner surface of the hollow part. The reinforcement used is low in cost. tubing. Resin Systems Polyesters and epoxies Major Advantages The process affords highest strength-to-weight ratio of any fiberglass-reinforced plastic manufacturing process. Special winding machines lay down continuous strands in a predetermined pattern to provide maximum strength in the directions required. the wound mandrel is cured at room temperature or in an oven. CONTINUOUS PULTRUSION A continuous process for the manufacture of products having a constant cross section. When sufficient layers have been applied.cylindrical products such as chemical and fuel storage tanks and pipe. pipe. made of steel or aluminum. Molds Mandrels of suitable size and shape. pressure vessels. The process may be automated when high volume makes this economically feasible. The molding is then stripped from the mandrel. to facilitate part removal. such as rod stock. and provides highest degree of control over uniformity and fiber orientation. Filament-wound structures can be accurately machined. and rocket motor cases. channels. Equipment is available to perform filament winding on a continuous basis. Process Description . Process Description Continuous strand reinforcement is utilized to achieve maximum laminate strength.

Resin is applied to the inside of the rotating mandrel and centrifugal force distributes the resin thoroughly. and uses low-cost reinforcement. voidfree laminates are achieved. mat or cloth is impregnated in a resin bath. tubing. cylindrical mold. which is heated (82 to 93°C. Resin Systems General-purpose polyesters and epoxies. It is adaptable to shapes with small cross-sectional areas. Resin Systems General-purpose and chemical-resistant polyesters. A portion of the die is heated to initiate the cure.Continuous strand fiberglass roving. 180 to 200° F) and is rotating. Molds Cylindrical metal tubing. Process Description Chopped strand mat is positioned inside a hollow. . CENTRIFUGAL CASTING A process for the production of cylindrical hollow shapes: water tanks. Low material waste and uniform. There is no practical limit to the length of stock produced by continuous pultrusion. impregnating the reinforcement. Major Advantages The process is a continuous operation and can be readily automated. A pulling device establishes production speed. or continuous strand roving is chopped and directed onto the inside walls of the mold. and containers. To accelerate cure. With rod stock. Good surfaces are provided inside and out. Molds Hardened steel dies. Very high strengths are possible due to high fiber concentration and orientation parallel to the length of the stock being drawn. and then drawn through a steel die which sets the shape of the stock and controls the resin/glass ratio. cure is affected in an oven. Major Advantages The method can be automated to produce high volumes of pipe or tanks at low tooling cost. The mold is stopped and the finished part is removed. External threads may be molded in. pipe. hot air is blown through the rotating mold.

is heated in the injection chamber of the molding machine. Great part precision and design flexibility are obtainable. polyethylene. acetal. modified polyphenylene oxide. using single.INJECTION MOLDING Highest-volume method of any of the fiberglass-reinforced plastic processes. and other components requiring high dimensional stability and complexity of design. There is versatility with the many resin systems and compounds available. and SAN (styrene-acrylonitrile). A wide variety of small to medium size parts are routinely injection molded. Process Description The molding compound . Major Advantages Highest volume and highest uniformity of part of any molding method. high-pressure method suitable for molding complex. pump housings. the compound is solidified to a degree sufficient to enable the part to be removed from the mold without distortion. polycarbonate.or multiple-cavity.) Molds Single. valve bodies. polystyrene.in pellet form. After a short cooling cycle. . hardened tool steel molds.notably nylon. The material is then injected. as well as pigmentation and additives for color and many special chemical or thermal properties. household appliance parts. gears. COMPRESSION MOLDING A high-volume. fender liners. either by plunger or reciprocating screw under high pressure and in hot. fluorocarbons. with complex detail. automobile instrument panels. electrical. and other design features not possible to mold in any other process. polysulfone. polypropylene. highstrength fiberglass-reinforced plastic parts. usually 15 to 90 s. and large parts such as home laundry tubs. Thermosetting resins are normally used. vinyl. and thermal properties provided by the wide range of thermoplastic resins available. (Some thermosets can also be injection molded. with a wide variety of mechanical. compound concentrate. ABS (acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene). The process is usually highly automated. into a relatively cold closed mold. chemical. or dry blend . Parts range from very small to quite large. fluid form. Fairly large parts can be molded with excellent surface finish.or multiple-cavity molds to produce very large volumes of complex parts at very high production rates. Resin systems All thermoplastics .

thickener. and shape of the part. preform. resin. chemical resistant. Subsequent trimming and machining operations are minimized. business machine housings and parts. Resin Systems Polyesters (combined with fiberglass reinforcement as bulk or sheet molding compound.8 MPa. sometimes electric heat is used. or mat).) The two halves of the mold are closed. general-pur pose. melamines. flame retardant. provisions for inserts. 225 to 320 OF) and pres sure (1. the resin may be added either before or after the reinforcement is positioned in the mold. Molds Single. Great part design flexibility. cast iron. and pressure are dependent on the type of mix and the shape of the product being molded. depending on part configuration.0 to 13. The mold is opened and the finished part is removed. The compound is taken in measured quantities by weight and placed into a heated cavity of a mold. (In the case of preform or mat molding. Mold materials include cast or forged steel. electrical components. or a "preform" or fiberglass mat with resin added at the press. where pressure and additional heat are applied. also phenolics. and heat (105 to 160°C. good mechanical and chemical properties obtainable. Low-profile agents may also be used when surface finish is critical. Typical parts: automobile front ends. filler and a catalyst as ingredients. Superior color and finish are obtainable. temperature. usually cored for steam or hot oil heating. contributing to lower part finishing cost. furniture. some epoxies. Depending on thickness. size. is placed in the open mold. Inserts and attachments can be molded in. aJld other refinements are often employed. flexible or semirigid. 150 to 2000 psi) are applied.or multiple-cavity hardened and chrome plated molds. curing cycles range from less than a minute to about five minutes. silicones. Major Advantages Highest volume and highest part uniformity of any thermoset molding method. pigment. and cast aluminum. high heat distortion. Side cores.Process Description Matched molds are mounted in a hydraulic or modified mechanical molding press. The process can be automated. diallyl phthalate. SHEET MOLDING COMPOUND SYSTEMS . BULK MOLDING COMPOUNDS BMC or bulk molding compounds are formulated with chopped strand fiberglass. Curing time. A weighed charge of sheet or bulk molding compound. appliance housings and structural components.

Molds Following placement in the matched metal die and mold closing. Curing temperature may vary from 105 to 150°C (225 to 300 OF). into accurately weighed premold charges. Since the compounds are nearly tackfree as they thicken. . the rolls are wrapped and sealed with barrier film or foil. PREMIX COMPOUNDS In premix molding compounds. They can either be made by the molder himself or be purchased from a compounder. Reuse of most edge and charge trim from the compound minimizes waste without adverse effect on the molded product. isotropic sheet compounds flow uniformly throughout the integral contours of the mold to form the final part. and by the chopper speed. Those containing continuous roving are limited to cross-directional flow. and corrosion resistance with improved surfaces. The premixed material is then formed. The sheet is then wound onto a take-up roll.PROCESS DESCRIPTION Sheet molding compounds for structural molding composites are made by depositing a chemically thickenable. Continuous fiberglass rovings are then chopped to a predetermined length and randomly deposited on the resin. low viscosity polyester resin uniformly on a continuous polyethylene carrier film. and molded under heat and pressure. but also a quite uniform glass/resin ratio throughout. filler and catalyst are thoroughly mixed for use in bulk form. Simultaneously. Reinforcement content is controlled by the speed of the carrier film passing under the deposition area. Rolls of compound are aged for a predetermined period of time to allow uniform viscosity rise before being prepared for molding. the fiberglass chopped strand along with resin. a second polyethylene carrier film is covered with a given amount of thickenable catalyzed polyester resin. The resultant resin-glass-resin sandwich is passed under kneading and/or compaction rolls to assist in wetting of the reinforcements to form a uniform sheet. depending on volume. in some cases by extrusion. Curing time depends on the compound and the configuration of the molded part. and brought into contact with the first carrier film. Major Advantages Sheet molding compounds offer the molder many advantages. Others may be continuously deposited in the machine direction without chopping. they can be readily cut into various shapes for mold charging and stripped of the polyethylene film by the press operator.3 MPa (100 to 1500 psi). pigment. the quantities of roving being continuously deposited (if any) and chopped. placed into the cavity of the mold. To ensure that the loss of styrene monomer is held at the lowest possible level. Pressure used may be from 690 kPa to 10. Parts have not only good physical properties. weatherability. Under most circumstances it lasts from 30 s to 5 min. They are stable for 3 to 9 months if properly wrapped and stored at 16°C (60 OF).

truck hoods. shift consoles. fertilizer and pesticide tanks and sprayers. fender liners. strain insulators. process pump and valve bodies. grilles. base pans. radomes. patio covers. fan housings. water softener tanks. paneling. Good appearance High dielectric strength with low moisture absorption . dishwasher pump bodies. insulated tanks. instrument housings. launch tubes. sump pump bases. gears. instrument panels. siding. Reduced costs Agricultural Ruggedness. gears. mounting panels. frames. resistance Room air conditioner cases. keyboard caps. storage tanks and hoppers. wing tips. access panels. garden tractor and lawn mower bodies and housings. engine covers. nozzles. piping. fenders. standoffs. home laundry tubs. cab and body components. front ends. feed troughs. Electrical pole line hardware. pressure vessels. electronic components. utility line maintenance equipment. nose cones. fenders. spoilers. Aircraft interior components for passengers and cargo. sky lighting. brackets. casings. hoods. scrubbing towers. seating. printed circuit boards. Machine covers and housings. printer heads. Farm tractor hoods. television swivel stands. pressure vessels. ducting. bulkheads. antenna components. rocket motor cases. filters. wing fuel tanks. pipes. humidifier cases and blower wheels. concrete pouring forms. controls. Structural shapes. head lamp and tail lamp housings. microwave oven cook trays.APPLICATIONS OF PMC’s Industry Automotive Advantages High-volume production. Appliances Ability to produce complex molded parts without fasteners or welds Aviation/ Aerospace High strength with light weight Business machines Chemical processing Excellent surface finish and dimensional stability at elevated temperatures. impellers. and levers. iron handles. housings. Fine finishes. cams. electroplating racks and handling equipment. and ducting. switch control rods. instrument housings. under-thehood components. hot sticks. Chemical and fuel tanks. photographic processing equipment. soap dispensers. fumecollection hoods and duct systems. crossarms. keys. Moderate cost. housings and backboards. glazing panels. fans and blowers. vacuum cleaner housings. Corrosion resistance Applications Automobile body components. shatterproof street lighting globes. dryer ducts. Corrosion resistance Construction Electrical/ Electronics Ruggedness. fender extenders. curtain wall components. condenser and compressor fans.

fishing rods. trucks. tables. Low cost Ease of repair. rapid transit car ends. low maintenance. motor truck and bus components. nozzles. motorcycles. diving boards. sinks. outboard engine shrouds. golf carts. Car bodies. water and snow skis. plumbing fixtures. barges. scooters. Pultrusion Spray molding. transport seating. tanks and pipes. ventilation cowls. missile shells. Motor homes. structural. propeller blades. radomes. electrical equipment. marker buoys. pallets and skids. bathroom tub/ shower units. truck campers. floating docks. golf clubs. Applications of Polymer Matrix Composites by Manufacturing Method Manufacturing method Filament winding Press molding Applications Pressure bottles. truck trailer panels. food-processing and delivery trays. high performance Marine Material Handling High strength with light weight Recreational Low maintenance. archery bows. Pleasure. Low maintenance. pipe. swimming pools. chemical tanks. cargo-handling equipment. lawn furnishings. refrigerator car liners. freight car roofs. protective helmets. barge covers. Tote trays and bins. electrical appliances. chemical equipment. covers. vaulting poles. Lightness Architectural components. recreational water craft. car bodies. snowmobile and allterrain vehicle bodies. lacrosse sticks. swimming pools. silos. fuel tanks. bulkheads. Good appearance Transportation Toughness. tanks. travel trailers. camping trailers. furniture. appliance and equipment components. lamp shades.House Beauty. pickup covers. third-rail covers. duct work. air cargo "igloos". Rods. tubes. canoes. water tanks. tubing. sinks. hockey sticks. surfboards. hopper car covers. building components. silos. masts and spars. skylights. bins. refrigerated truck bodies. bathtubs. shapes. high strength parts. playground equipment. homes. Contact lay-up Autoclave molding . Railway passenger and freight car components. lighters. conveyor-system components. Aircraft parts. commercial. appliances. furniture-chairs. housings. boxes. Boats. and military boat hulls and superstructures.