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ABSTRACT: Recently, the development of smart composites, has grown rapidly due to the requirement of an increasing safety margin of all infrastructure, biomedical and engineering (automotive, aerospace and marine) elements. The name µsmart¶ means that a structure (or a material) should be able to respond to environmental changes or external impacts to keep it in a safe condition, without substantially changing its original functionalities. Research on SMS has been mainly focused on embedding tiny sensors and actuators into advanced composite materials. The main reason is because advanced composites have been widely adopted for building large life-concerned structures, like airplanes (both Airbus A380 and Boeing 787). A large portion of their structures are made by carbon and glass fiber composites. Most of the rotor blades of helicopters are also made of advanced composites in order to reduce their weight and keep sufficient strength to maintain their stiffness. However, these structures are subject to many uncertain influences, such as excitation by unpredictable incoming wind with a frequency close to the natural frequency of the structures, for example, blade±vortex interaction. As a result, abnormal vibration and noise may be induced that is severely harmful to the structures. In this special issue, several types of smart composites and devices that are used for ensuring the safety of structures are introduced.

The name µsmart¶ means that a structure (or a material) should be able to respond to environmental changes or external impacts to keep it in a safe condition, without substantially changing its original functionalities. Smart composite materials can be obtained by mixing the metal and polymer matrix with smart material and used for health monotoring, active control and self-restroation of structural and functional materials. Compared to smart materials, smart composite materials have many technical issues such as uniform mixing, interfacial adhesion, and property characterization.

Taking composite materials as a whole, there are many different material options to choose from in the areas of resins, fibres and cores, all with their own unique set of properties such as strength, stiffness, toughness, heat resistance, cost, production rate, etc. However, the end properties of a composite part produced from these different materials is not only a function of the individual properties of the resin matrix and fibre (and in sandwich structures, the core as well), but is also a function of the way in which the materials themselves are designed into the part and also the way in which they are processed. This section compares a few of the commonly used composite production methods and presents some of the factors to be borne in mind with each different process, including the influence of each process on materials selection.
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Spray lay-up Wet lay-up/Hand lay-up Vacuum Bagging Filament Winding Pultrusion. Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM) Prepregs Low Temperature Curing Prepregs Resin Film Infusion (RFI)

Spray lay-up Fibre is chopped in a hand-held gun and fed into a spray of catalysed resin directed at the mould. The deposited materials are left to cure under standard atmospheric conditions.

Wet lay-up/Hand lay-up Resins are impregnated by hand into fibres which are in the form of woven, knitted, stitched or bonded fabrics. This is usually accomplished by rollers or brushes, with an increasing use of nip-roller type impregnators for forcing resin into the fabrics by means of rotating rollers and a bath of resin. Laminates are left to cure under standard atmospheric conditions. Vacuum Bagging This is basically an extension of the wet lay-up process described above where pressure is applied to the laminate once laid-up in order to improve its consolidation. This is achieved by sealing a plastic film over the wet laid-up laminate and onto the tool. The air under the bag is extracted by a vacuum pump and thus up to one atmosphere of pressure can be applied to the laminate to consolidate it. Filament Winding This process is primarily used for hollow, generally circular or oval sectioned components, such as pipes and tanks. Fibre tows are passed through a resin bath before being wound onto a mandrel in a variety of orientations, controlled by the fibre feeding mechanism, and rate of rotation of the mandrel. Pultrusion Fibres are pulled from a creel through a resin bath and then on through a heated die. The die completes the impregnation of the fibre, controls the resin content and cures the material into its final shape as it passes through the die. This cured profile is then automatically cut to length. Fabrics may also be introduced into the die to provide fibre direction other than at 0. Although pultrusion is a continuous process, producing a profile of constant cross-section, a variant known as `pulforming' allows for some variation to be introduced into the cross-section. The process pulls the materials through the die for impregnation, and then clamps them in a mould for curing. This makes the process noncontinuous, but accommodating of small changes in cross-section.

Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM) Fabrics are laid up as a dry stack of materials. These fabrics are sometimes pre pressed to the mould shape, and held together by a binder. These 'preforms' are then more easily laid into the mould tool. A second mould tool is then clamped over the first, and resin is injected into the cavity. Vacuum can also be applied to the mould cavity to assist resin in being drawn into the fabrics. This is known as Vacuum Assisted Resin Injection (VARI). Once all the fabric is wet out, the resin inlets are closed, and the laminate is allowed to cure. Both injection and cure can take place at either ambient or elevated temperature. Prepregs Fabrics and fibres are pre-impregnated by the materials manufacturer, under heat and pressure or with solvent, with a pre-catalysed resin. The catalyst is largely latent at ambient temperatures giving the materials several weeks, or sometimes months, of useful life when defrosted. However to prolong storage life the materials are stored frozen. The resin is usually a near-solid at ambient temperatures, and so the pre-impregnated materials (prepregs) have a light sticky feel to them, such as that of adhesive tape. Unidirectional materials take fibre direct from a creel, and are held together by the resin alone. The prepregs are laid up by hand or machine onto a mould surface, vacuum bagged and then heated to typically 120-180°C. This allows the resin to initially reflow and eventually to cure. Additional pressure for the moulding is usually provided by an autoclave (effectively a pressurised oven) which can apply up to 5 atmospheres to the laminate. Low Temperature Curing Prepregs Low temperature curing prepregs are made exactly as conventional prepregs but have resin chemistries that allow cure to be achieved at temperatures from 60-100°C. At 60°C, the working life of the material may be limited to as little as a week, but above this working times can be as long as several months. The flow profiles of the resin systems allow for the use of vacuum bag pressures alone, avoiding the need for autoclaves. Resin Film Infusion (RFI) Dry fabrics are laid up interleaved with layers of semi-solid resin film supplied on a release paper. The lay-up is vacuum bagged to remove air through the dry fabrics, and then heated to allow the resin to first melt and flow into the air-free fabrics, and then after a certain time, to cure.

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Carbon fibres Aramid Fibres (meta and para)

y Glass fibres(E-glass and S-glass) CARBON FIBRE:
Carbon fiber is a composite material most often found in race cars and expensive supercars although like all advanced technology it is finding its way into more and more vehicles. Despite it's expense and high-tech uses carbon fibre is relatively easy to work with. The expense of carbon fibre is offset by it's amazing strength and extreme lightweight properties. It is also extremely stiff and body stiffness plays an important part in contributing to good handling, especially at high speeds.

Some production supercars use a carbon fibre monocoque, a construction technique that uses the external skin to provide support rather than the conventional internal frame. Other times the carbon fibre is used in the bodypanels or in areas where extreme stiffness and lightweight is beneficial.Carbon fibre is sometimes used in conjunction

with fiberglass because of their similar manufacturing processes, an example of this would be the Corvette ZO6 where the front end is carbon fibre and the rear is fibreglass. Carbon fiber is however, far stronger and lighter than fiberglass. Carbon fibre can be found in a wide range of performance vehicles including sports cars, superbikes, pedal bikes (where

they are used to make frames), powerboats and it is often used in the tuning and customising industry where attractive woven panels are left unpainted to 'show off' the material. Carbon fibres are the most expensive reinforcing fibres. The price for weaved mats is about 500 DKK/kg. Tensile strength: 2000-5000 MPa Carbon fibre has many particular advantages in weight and performance but is held back by expensive fabrication, repair and recycling processes. The beauty of carbon fibre is that it can be fabricated in such a way that directional performance (in terms of response to force applied) can be manipulated to give the best possible results in virtually every circumstance. Whilst a material such as steel will have desirable performance when subjected to forces in certain ways or from certain directions, weaknesses will remain. The ability to arrange fibres to suit the particular forces affecting a component mean more areas of weakness can be eliminated. There are different categories of carbon fibers based on modulus, tensile strength, and final heat treatment temperature. In the carbonization process, temperature exposures range from 10000 C to 20000 C, each different level of exposure creating a different property for the fiber. For example, high-modulus type is processed at 20000 C, 15000 C for high strength type, and 10000 C for low modulus and low strength type. The main carbon fibers are made from polyacrylonitrile (PAN) based and pitch based, and are well known for their composite reinforcement and heat resistant end uses.

Carbon Properties
Tenacity g/de Modulus g/de Elongation (%)

Fiber PAN


18-70 1640 - 3850 0.4-2.4

14-30 1000 5850 0.2 ± 1.3 570 - 1000

Continuous operation temp. 570 - 1000 (OF)

APPLICATIONS: Woven Fabric Aircraft and aerospace Automotive Sports & recreational equipment 

Marine General engineering Yarn/Fiber  Reinforcement composites and rubber Filtration

Glass fibres are made of silicon oxide with addition of small amounts of other oxides.Glass fibres are characteristic for their high strength, good temperature and corrosion resistance, and low price. There are two main types of glass fibres: E-glass and Sglass.The first type is the most used, and takes its name from its good electrical properties. The second type is very strong (S-glass), stiff, and temperature resistant.Used as reinforcing materials in many sectors, e.g. automotive and naval industries, sport equipment etc. They are produced by a spinning process, in which they are pulled out through a nozzle from molten glass (thousands of meter/min).Glass fibres are very low cost. Their price for weaved mats is about 15 DKK/kg.

Glass fibers are useful because of their high ratio of surface area to weight. However, the increased surface area makes them much more susceptible to chemical attack. By trapping air within them, blocks of glass fiber make good thermal insulation, with a thermal conductivity of the order of 0.05 W/(m·K).[7]

The strength of glass is usually tested and reported for "virgin" or pristine fibers ²those which have just been manufactured. The freshest, thinnest fibers are the strongest because the thinner fibers are more ductile. The more the surface is scratched, the less the resulting tenacity.[5] Because glass has anamorphous structure, its properties are the same along the fiber and across the fiber. [4] Humidity is an important factor in the tensile strength. Moisture is easily adsorbed, and can worsen microscopic cracks and surface defects, and lessen tenacity. In contrast to carbon fiber, glass can undergo more elongation before it breaks.[4] There is a correlation between bending diameter of the filament and the filament diameter.[8] The viscosity of the molten glass is very important for manufacturing success. During drawing (pulling of the glass to reduce fiber circumference), the viscosity should be relatively low. If it is too high, the fiber will break during drawing. However, if it is too low, the glass will form droplets rather than drawing out into fiber. APPLICATIONS: Woven Fabric Automotive Filtration Reinforcement - plastic/rubber/cement Thermal insulation Printed circuit boards - electrical Needlefelts Aircraft and aerospace Cushion material Filtration Thermal insulation and spacers Acoustic insulation ARAMID FIBRE: Aramid fibres are known for their large hardness and resistance to penetration. Thanks to their toughness aramid fibres are used where high impenetrability is required, e.g. bulletproof vests, bike tyres, airplanes wings, and sport equipment.

These fibres are not as spread as glass or carbon fibres, mostly because of their cost, high water absorption, and their difficult post-processing. They are produced from PPTA .

Immersed in a strong acid at -50 C, PPTA forms liquid crystals. The liquid is pulled through a nozzle at 200 C: the acid evaporates and the crystals get oriented. Finally, the fibres are stretch out at 500 C. Very high costly fibres. The price for weaved mats is about 400 DKK/kg. Tensile strength: ca. 3,600 MPa. The properties of aramid fibres depend on the manufacturing conditions.

Aramid fibre is a man-made organic polymer (an aromatic polyamide) produced by spinning a solid fibre from a liquid chemical blend.The bright yellow filaments produced can have a range of properties, but all have high strength and low density that result in very high specific strength. All grades have excellent resistance to impact, and lower modulus grades are used extensively in ballistic applications. Proven experience in yacht-rigging provides endless possibilities for replacing traditional steel-wire for Aramid Rigging. Our endless-winding technology for end fittings replaces the traditional less durable cone fittings in steel wire solutions.

Cables can be up to 50% smaller in diameter, and therefore much lighter! APPLICATIONS:
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flame-resistant clothing. heat protective clothing and helmets. ropes and cables. fiber reinforced concrete


In the future, smart composite materials will be widely used as sensor and actuator for the minimization and intelligence of product in the IT, automobile, space and military industry. Especilally, MEMS/NEMS technology will be admitted as inevitable process for fabrication. So, our research will be focussed on fabrication and characterization of smart composite materials using MEMS/NEMS technology. We convince the smart composite materials will change the concept of material design in the future.

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Masters J E, et al: Mechanical Properties of Triaxially Braided Composites: Experimental and Analytical Results, Journal of Composites Technology and Research, JCTRER, Vol 15, No 2, Summer 1993.


Roe P J and Ansell M P: Jute-reinforced Polyester Composites, J Mater Sci 1985; 20:4015-20.


Sridhar M K, Basavarappa G, Kasturi S G, and Balasubramaniam N: Mechanical Properties of Jute/Polyester Composites, Indian J Tech 1984; 22:213-5.

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