What is a Composite?A Composite is a combination of two or more materials yielding properties superior to the individual ingredients. One material is in the form of a particulate or fiber (called the reinforcement or discrete phase). The other is formable solid (called the matrix or continous phase). The region where the reinforcement and the matrix meet is called the interface. Composite properties are determined by chemical mechanical interaction at the interface as well as the properties of the combined materials. Fiber glass reinforced plastic (FRP or GRP) combines fiber glass (the reinforcement) with thermoplastic or thermosetting resins (the matrix).
What are the Advantages?While materials like metal are strong, this strength is equal in all directions. The advantage of composites is that strength characteristics can be custom tailored in a specific direction. Placing more material where needed and less where it is not, is one of the major advantages of composites over other materials.
How do we Design with FRP?The variation in design options, resins and reinforcement selection, and molding process that give composite materials an advantage over other materials can also make working with them a bit more complicated, especially when one needs to maximize the quality and reduce costs. The key is to match the correct variables with the application.