What are Composites?

Composites are a combination of two materials with their own distinct chemical and physical properties. These combined components don’t completely blend with each other (as sugar and water would, for instance); rather, they are combined and joined together to create an improved material that can be used for one or more purposes.

What are Composite Materials Made of?

Composites can be made of just about any two materials. Some of the earliest ones include the combination of straw with mud bricks and pottery and combination bows made from wood, bone, cattle tendons, pine resin, and other materials. Plywood, which is still commonly used in construction, is one of the earliest composite materials and is still used in the construction industry to this day.

Natural and Synthetic Composites

Concrete is a common composite ingredient. It can be reinforced with metal rods or glass fiber, bonded with wood fiber, or used to encase optic fibers to create translucent concrete. Wood can also be used in a multitude of composite combinations. Examples include engineered wood, parquetry, and wood-plastic composite.

Bamboo, which is commonly thought of as wood but is actually a type of grass, is yet another natural composite material. It can be mixed with an adhesive or an adhesive and wood to create a type of plywood. It can also be mixed with bamboo to create a bamboo fiber cement composite board.

Are Plastics Composites?

Not all plastics are composites, but many are. Examples include fiberglass, which is a combination of glass fiber and plastic; carbon fiber reinforced polymer, which is made by setting carbon fiber in plastic; and syntactic foams, which are made by filling plastic with microballoons.

Plating on plastic is yet another way this versatile material can be used to create a composite. Some of the many types of plastic that can be plated on include polypropylene, polyetherimide, polyethersulfone, Urea formaldehyde, mineral-reinforced nylon, Teflon, and polyphenylene oxide. Nickel and copper are two common metals bonded with the above-mentioned plastics.

Why Use Composites?

There are many good reasons to use composites. Composite materials are typically stronger, more durable, and more resilient than a single material used on its own. They may also be more resistant to insects, moisture, and elements than single materials. Some types of composites, such as cement-bonded wood fiber, have insulating properties.

Composites are also frequently made to create an eco-friendly end product that does not use resources that are in limited supply or create emissions. This is particularly true of composites made using bamboo.

TIGHITCO has a reputation for creating high-quality, cutting-edge composite materials for leading aerospace firms. We have the resources, expertise, and tools on hand to create custom solutions for a range of businesses and industries. If you need one or more specialized composites or would like to learn more about what we can do for your business, get in touch with our team of experts at your convenience.