Composite Polymeric Materials

A composite material (also called a composition material) is a material made from two or more constituent materials with significantly different physical or chemical properties that, when combined, produce a material with characteristics different from the individual components. The individual components remain separate and distinct within the finished structure. Polymers are common matrices (especially used for fibre reinforced plastics). Road surfaces are often made from asphalt concrete which uses bitumen as a matrix. Typically, most common polymer-based composite materials, including fibreglass, carbon fibre, and Kevlar, include at least two parts, the substrate and the resin. Polyester resin tends to have yellowish tint, and is suitable for most backyard projects. Its weaknesses are that it is UV sensitive and can tend to degrade over time, and thus generally is also coated to help preserve it. It is often used in the making of surfboards and for marine applications. Its hardener is a peroxide, often MEKP (methyl ethyl ketone peroxide). When the peroxide is mixed with the resin, it decomposes to generate free radicals, which initiate the curing reaction. Hardeners in these systems are commonly called catalysts, but since they do not re-appear unchanged at the end of the reaction, they do not fit the strictest chemical definition of a catalyst.

  • Natural and synthetic polymers
  • Novel polymer composites
  • Fly ash-based polymer matrix composites
  • Conducting and shape memory polymers

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