The world of composites: An overview

Commercial applications growing despite tight material supplies.

High strength and light weight remain the winning combination that propels composite materials into new arenas, but other properties are equally important. Composite materials offer good vibrational damping and low coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE), characteristics that can be engineered for specialized applications. Composites are resistant to fatigue and provide design/fabrication flexibility that can significantly decrease the number of parts needed for specific applications – which translates into a finished product that requires less raw material, fewer joints and fasteners and shorter assembly time. Composites have proven resistance to temperature extremes, corrosion and wear, especially in industrial settings, where these properties do much to reduce product life-cycle costs.