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“Composite is a mixture of two or more materials that differ in form,

chemical composition and essentially insoluble.”
There are two categories of constituent materials: matrix and
reinforcement. The reinforcement imparts its special mechanical and
physical properties to enhance the matrix properties. Composite produces
properties unavailable from the individual constituent materials.
Due to the wide variety of matrix and reinforcement materials
available, the design potentials are incredible.
 The most primitive composite materials comprised straw and mud in
the form of bricks for building construction.
 Composites are widely used in aerospace industry.
 The most visible applications are our roadways of concrete i.e. a
composite of sand, cement (matrix), gravel, water, steel bars (fibers,
 There are the so-called natural composites like bone and wood.

Atomic scale:-
At atomic scale, composites are usually:
Metal alloys, polymers, Al-Cu alloys, Al-Si alloys, Al-Zn alloys and iron

Iron accommodating 0.2% carbon is a composite of ferrite and pearlite.

GFRP: Glass Fiber Reinforce Plastics (used in the manufacturing of boats,
automotive cylinders)
GFRPMC: Glass Fiber Reinforce Polymeric Matrix Composites.
These are structural composites.
There two types of composites:
 Matrix composites
 Reinforcement

Matrix composites:-
Most common matrix composites are:
MMC: Metal Matrix Composite.
PMC: Polymer Matrix Composite.
CMC: Ceramic Matrix Composite.
Metal matrix composites are usually made up of aluminium to give
it enough strength as it is less dense than iron so used in aerospace.

Reinforcement composites are usually fibers.
 Glass fibers
 Carbon fibers
 Aramid fibers
Fibers are usually strengthy, low density, resistant to heat, corrosion,
electricity, cheap, easy to handle and easily available.

(A)-Glass fiber:-
These are mainly continuous fibers and made by drawing or
extrusion method. They are structural composites. Glass fiber is cheaper
than others but has high density. It is widely used. For example: CNG
cylinders and bus bodies.
They have greater tensile strength and less compressive strength.
There are two types of glass fibers:
S-type: they have high strength. Example: Al2O3 (50-45%), SiO2 (10-15%),
MgO (10%). Here Al2O3 and MgO are expensive. It is 650kps.
E-type: These are electrical structural composites usually steel bars.
Example: lime-aluminum borosilicate glass (CaO, Al2O3, B2O3, SiO2). E-type
is cheaper than S-type because of SiO2. It is 500kps. (103 pounds = 1 kips)

(B)-Carbon & Aramid fibers:-

Carbon and aramid are both expensive and of low density. They are used
mainly in aerospace industry.
Carbon fibers are of two types: PAN (PolyAcryloNitrile) and Pitch. Pan is of
high quality. Pitch is almost pure form of carbon i.e. percentage of carbon
is a little bit less in it than PAN.
Carbon/Aramid Reinforcement Plastic is used in aerospace or military

Carbon fiber production:-

Production process consists of three steps:
In this step PAN is stretched and oxidized at 200-2200 C under tension.
Since the amount of Nitrogen, Oxygen and Hydrogen is increased at this
stage so they react with carbon at 1000-15000C and then removed to
increase carbon percentage. In this step PAN attains stiffness (i.e. ability to
resist deflection), high strength and low density.
Now the temperature is increased to 18000C and carbon comes out in the
form of graphite flakes. Strength of Pan is decreased and its stiffness is
Aramids are aromatic polyamides and used in aerospace as well as bullet
proof jackets because it has greater impact strength.

Matrix (Plastic):-
Plastics are C-C bonded, long chained molecules. These are organic
 Low strength
 Low density
 High compressive strength
 Low melting point
 Epoxy resin
 Polyester
• Concrete, metal and wood are replaced by composites now

Hand lay-up process:-

 Composites are made by this simplest method.
 Reinforcement phase: fibers in woven form or chopped
fibers held together loosely by a binder. Unidirectional fabric or biaxial
fabric is also used as a reinforcement phase.
 By the help of roller or spray matrix i.e. epoxy resin is
painted on the reinforcement fiber.
 Mould used in composite production is chemical
resistant and also a composite.
 Some catalyst or hardener is added in resin and color is
also added in the form of pigments.
Filament winding method:-
 This method is used for tabular structures.
 It consists of winding continuous roving of fiber onto a rotating mandrel in
predetermined patterns after passing fiber through resin bath.
 After several layers are wound, the component is cured and removed from
the mandrel.

• In unidirectional fibers, strength is greater. In transverse direction it will be

• In chopped form (random direction), overall strength will be same but less
than that in unidirectional fiber.

Concrete is an example of ceramic composite which consists of granular
aggregate embedded in Portland cement.
In general concrete is a mixture of mineral aggregate, water and cement forming
a workable mass.
Aggregate consists of sand (fine particles: diameter less than 6mm) and gravel
(coarse particles: diameter more than 1.8mm).
 Overall production of concrete is more than steel.

 It has 10 times more compressive strength than tensile strength.
 Its density is much higher than structural composites.
 It is economically available material.
 It is resistant to heat.
 It’s easy to fabricate on required site.
 It is easy to cast.

Matrix in concrete:-
Cement acts as a matrix phase in it as well as a binder to hold granular
aggregate together.

Raw material for cement:-

 3CaOSiO2
 2CaSiO2
 3CaOAl2O3
 4CaOAl2O3Fe2O3
These raw materials are crushed, ground and then heated at 14000C to
1650 C in rotatory kiln.

Functions of cement raw materials:-

The only chemical reaction in between water and cement is “Reaction of
Hydration”. Heat of hydration of 3CaOSiO2 is greater than others, so it is the early
strength giver to concrete.

It gives strength to concrete after 1 week of setting in specific environment.

3CaOAl2O3 & 4CaOAl2O3Fe2O3:-

These are used in sulphate environment. Their M.P is high, so they lower the
temperature of cement in rotatory kiln.

Grades of cement:-
There are 5 grades of cement for different applications obtained by adjusting the
percentages of raw materials.

 Ordinary strength cement

 Moderate strength cement
 High strength cement
 Sulphate environment cement
• Concrete gains maximum strength in 90 days. Its rate of setting is much

Compressive Strength

7 90

The mineral aggregate is taken of proper size and a paste of cement and water is
added in it. The chemical reaction between cement and water is simple hydration
while there is no chemical reaction between cement and gravel. The paste of
cement and water just binds the mineral aggregate strongly. After setting and
drying, the mass structure becomes very strong.

• Overlapping of diameters of particles of mineral aggregate results in

overlapping of grain size.


Cement Sand Gravel

1 2 4
7 to 15 % 15 to 31 %

Here cement is the most expensive one while gravel is less expensive than
cement. Sand is the cheapest one among them all.
Air is also present: 0.5 to 8 %.

• Air entrapped concrete is also used for special purposes. It

accommodates air 4 to 8 %. Its strength is lower (less impact strength)
and freezing point is higher. Control freezing acts at 0K to -273oC.

Reinforced Concrete:-
It is made by casting concrete on steel rods. Since the surface of steel bars is
usually rough so concrete sets on it with good mechanical strength.
Compressive strength of concrete is 55000 psi while tensile strength of steel is
40000 to 80000 psi so these two materials give much better properties when
combined to form a composite.
When steel bars are put in tension, properties become much better. Thos
property is called work hardening.

It is a natural composite and is composed of cellulose chain. These longitudinal
chains are bound together by amorphous lignin. Wood has fibrous structure and
hence has greater strength in longitudinal direction than in the transverse.

 Matrix: cellulose
 Reinforcement: lignin

Soft wood: It is obtained from ever green trees.
Hard wood: It is obtained from seasonal trees.

• Fiber direction of wood can not be controlled.

• Annual production of wood is greater than steel and concrete.

o A composite having same properties in different directions has

isotropic properties and the other having different properties in different
directions has anisotropic properties.

o The composites which are easiest to make are Fiber Reinforced

Plastics and in them the easiest one is GFRP i.e. Glass Fiber Reinforced
Ceramic Matrix Composite:-
These are materials consisting of a ceramic or carbon fiber surrounded by a
ceramic matrix; usually SiC (silicon carbide).

Slip Casting:-
 Slip casting is perhaps the best known of the ceramic matrix composite.
 First we start out with a slip, which is composed of ceramic particles
(usually clay) dispersed in water.
 We then pour the slip into a clay or plaster of Paris mold of the desired
 The porous mold sucks up the water in the slip through capillary action,
thus depositing the slip on the walls of the mold.
 Depending on how long one casts, one can create solid or hollow objects.
 The resultant body is hard and dry to the touch but is very brittle and bears
little or no resemblance to the finished article but it is now ready to be
transformed in the kiln.
Metal Matrix Composite:-
"It is a material in which continuous carbon, silicon carbide, or ceramic fibers are
embedded in a metallic matrix material.”
Most common MMC’s are Aluminium Matrix Composites.
In general, the major advantages of Aluminium Matrix Composites
(AMC’s) compared to unreinforced materials, such as steel and other common
metals, are as follows:
 Increased specific strength
 Increased specific stiffness
 Increased elevated temperature strength
 Improved wear resistance
 Lower density
 Good corrosion resistance

MMC’s are usually made by powder metallurgy or casting.

Reinforcements in MMC’s & CMC’s:-

Reinforcements in MMC’s and CMC’s are usually in particulate form and are
boron (B), Silicon Carbide (SiC) and Aluminium Nitride (AlN). These are
continuous fibers. The diameters of these fibers range from 2 to 200 µm.

Sieve Analysis
A sieve analysis is a practice or procedure used for any type of non-organic or
organic granular round materials including sands, clays, granite, feldspars, coal,
soil, etc. It can also be used for grain and seeds.

Apparatus Required:-

 Stack of Sieves including pan and cover

 Balance (with accuracy to 0.01 g)
 Rubber pestle and Mortar ( for crushing the grains if lumped)
 Mechanical sieve shaker
 Oven

Test Procedure:-
 A series of circular sieves with a wire mesh cloth are nested involving
eight to nine sieves. This is typically called a column. They also have a
fixed height.

 Wire mesh cloth are defined by their number of openings per inch. For
example a 14 mesh will have 14 openings per inch; a 12 mesh will have
12 opening per inch, and so on. The higher the mesh number the smaller
a particle has to be to pass through the column.

 A sample is taken and split in a "splitter." The sample is then poured into
the top sieve which has the smallest number of openings per inch. The
next sieve than has more openings per inch. Traveling down the column
the opening per inch on each wire mesh cloth increases. The last "sieve"
is a round container much like a baking pan, and is called "the pan."

 The column is placed in a mechanical shaker usually called a Ro-Tap

shaker. The shaker will shake the column for a fixed amount of time,
usually three minutes up to ten minutes.

 After the shaking is complete each sieve with its material sitting on its
cloth is then measured in a unit of weight (usually grams).

 With the total weight the weight of the sample of each sieve is then divided
by the total weight to give a percentage sitting on each sieve.

 After the tabulation a particle size distribution is defined by the sieve

analysis. Generally, the distribution is presented as a percentage passing
a sieve and retained on a sieve.
 For example, a 20 - 40 gradation is all the material passing the 20 mesh
and retained on the 40 mesh. Other presentation can be singular such as
+16, all material retained on the 16 mesh and above or -40, all the
material passing the 40 mesh.
A stack of sieves