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From this chapter, we will understand the concept of composite material and the fabricate
process for a rectangular composite sample through hand lay-up process.


Basically, it is made by combining two or more materials and produce a material that have different
properties. This is due to the combination of the materials that have their own characteristics and
they work together for making a better material. Even though, it is been mixing together, we still can
see the materials apart as they do not blend into each other. Examples of composites material are
fibre, reinforced concrete, resin, wood, thermoplastics and etc.

In the early days of using composites material, the people was using mud bricks. The mud
can be dried out into a brick shape to give a building material which this particular composite has a
good compressive strength. Yet, it is easily broken because of poor tensile strength. Then, straw that
seems strong if we try to stretch it, but we still can crumple it up. So, by mixing mud and straw
together, they produced a building bricks that is possible to resist the squeezing and tearing.

Nowadays, most composites are made of just two materials. One is the matrix or binder. It
surrounds and binds together fibres or fragments of the other material, which is called as the
reinforcement. Another example of modern composites material is fibreglass. This is still widely used
in our daily life’s products. The matrix is a plastic and the reinforcement is glass which it is already
being turned into fine threads that is very strong but brittle and it will break if bent sharply. The
plastic matrix holds the glass fibres together and protects them from damage by sharing out the
forces acting on them.


Hand layup process is an open molding method for making a wide variety of
composites products from very small to very large. However, the production volume per
mold is low. Other than that, it is feasible to produce susbstantial production quantities using
multiple molds and hand layup is the simplest composites molding method, low cost tooling
and a wide range of part sizes. Moreover, with skilled operators, good production rates and
consistent quality are easy to be obtain.
The materials that was been involve for this process are fiberglass, epoxy and hardener with
some others apparatus such as scissors, hand gloves and face mask for precautions.

Before starting the hand lay-up technique, every steps should be taken to avoid any accidents
and damage to the materials used. Several safety precautions have been taken such as wearing
gloves to prevent handcuffs and wearing safety masks to avoid sniffing materials used during
the fabrication. After all the safety matters have been taken, prepare all the materials and
apparatus that should be done for this process.


1. The woven fibreglass being cut into 6 pieces of 10cm × 10cm sheet. In which, the three
of it are just in normal rectangular shape and the last three also in rectangular shape
with a degrees of 15. We were prepared three plies for the layup.
2. The epoxy resin also being prepared by mixing the epoxy and hardener properly in a
container with a ratio of 2:1.
3. Then, the glass sheet that acted as the mould was cleaned and scraped from any debris
to provide smooth surface for laminating. The glass sheet surface being waxed with
4. The first fibreglass cloth being placed on top of the mold and the epoxy resin being
applied afterwards on top of the cloth.
5. The epoxy resin worked into the fibre using brush and rollers to wet out and the laminate
was compacted.
6. Plies and resin were subsequently being added and the overall laminate thickness being
built up.
7. A plastic sheet which is slightly larger than the cloth being placed on top of the final
layer and an aluminium plate was placed on top of the sheet.
8. The sample being clamped with uniform weight on top for an even pressure
9. The sample was cured for a week.
10. A small portion of the composite sample being cut at the degrees of 90.
11. The cut sample was placed under light microscope.
12. The light microscope was operated as in the introduction to light microscope.
13. The composite material were observed and at the top view and the side view were



 The top view of the composite material under light microscope;

Magnification Images


 The side view of the composite material under light microscope;

Magnification Images



 The images of the experiment process.

Figure 2: The fibreglass fabricated sample.

Figure 3: The result after a week.

Figure 4: The sample being cut at the degrees of 90.

Figure 5: The 5 pieces of small portion sample being labelled.


Based on the images that being shown above, there are bubbles and scratches on top
of the surface of the fibreglass when it is being placed under light microscope. Yet, even
with the using of 15X magnification, we still cannot see the behaviour of the fibreglass
orientation and the behaviour of epoxy also hardener (matrix). This is because of the
matrix is overpowering the behaviour of laminating the fibreglass during the process.
Plus, when we mixed and stirred the epoxy and hardener together, there are some heat
being felt, which it means the temperature is rising that leads to tougher matrix and
making the sample more strong and hard to fracture. Besides that, there are dust and dirt
appeared on the images.

For a better results, we needs to do it with more detailed and caution as the fibre dust
is dangerous to human’s body. So, we need to wear a proper attire (lab’s jacket), closed-
shoe, hair being tied also gloves and face mask are always being wore throughout the
process. Next, it is easier to cut the fibreglass using a knife than scissors and always
checked the glass sheet is free from dust or dirt. Then, making sure the portion of the
epoxy and hardener is correct also stirred it with a constant slow pace to avoid apparent of
the bubbles which is oxygen being trapped in it. When the epoxy resin being placed into
fibre, make sure flatten it equally on top of it and handle the materials and apparatus with
extra care so that scratches would not happen.


1. Explain the term isotropic material and composite material. Briefly state the
differences between them.
Composite material is the combination two or more material that produce a new
material with the particular properties that being desired and isotropic material
means uniform in all directions where the chemical bonds that hold the material
together are all in the same path, so that light passing through the material sees the
same electronic environment in all direction. The distinguish between these
materials are in normal composite, there are stretched and other might compressed
or deforming the chemical bonds while in isotropic, the material is just the same
regardless of any direction the light takes through the material.
2. In aerospace research, what are common aircraft parts that were usually fabricated
using the layup method. Briefly state the purpose of the research.

There are many applications of the method in aircraft that are tails, wings,
fuselage, interior components, flaps and etc. The purposes of this research are to make
a better material that can reduces the weight, fuel savings, very conventional, strong,
high resistant on corrosion, durable also high performance at elevated temperatures.

3. Choose one composite part from any aircraft or parts in aerospace study field. State
the materials and fabrication method used for that part. Briefly explain the reasons
choosing the material and the method.

One example of composite part from an aircraft is Titanium aluminide (TiAl)

that being used since the 1970s. This material is corrosion resistance in temperatures
up to the degrees celsius of 600, easily machined, high strength, low density, high
stiffness, damage tolerance, well-friendly nature and it can improve the thrust-to-weight
ratio in aircraft engines. The fabrication method that being used is by consisting of
alternating layers of foil that contains a sacrificial quantity of beta stabilizer element in
excess of desired quantity of beta stabilizer and a plurality of at least one of filamentary
materials such as silicon carbide being embedded in an alpha-2 titanium aluminide
metal matrix. After that, heat is being applied and pressure to consolidate the preform.

4. Describe the other two types of wet fabrication methods (i.e filament winding and
pultrusion) used in aerospace industry.

Wet fabrication methods stands for Wet Chemical Etching. It is a technique

where specific etchants are employed to selectively remove material. In which, we are
using this method to remove certain parts of a seed layer or to completely remove
sacrificial layers in order to obtain freestanding structures.

 Filament Winding
This method make hollow structures by cross-weaving continuous the spinning
of carbon fibre, fibreglass, or aramid fibre, and embedding them in a resin matrix. Plus,
filament winding has been widely used for over three decades in the aerospace industry
because it can makes the material stronger, low weight, durability and desired
characteristics can be obtained. We can find this type composite material at the tanks
and pressure vessel in an aircraft.
 Pultrusion
This type of process is producing continuous lengths of reinforced polymer
structural shapes with constant cross-sections. How to do it? Pultrusion involves pulling
raw materials such as liquid resin mixture that contains resin, fillers and specialized
additives) through a heated steel forming die using a continuous pulling device. Besides
that, the reinforcements that is flexible textile reinforcing fibres are saturated with resin
mixture in the resin bath and pulled through the die of the resin is initiated by the heat
from the die and a rigid, cured profile is formed that corresponds to the shape of the