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Lucideon's Guide to Composites

Composites are being used more and more in many different industries, thanks to the enhanced properties that are realised from the combining of materials.

In this guide we will look at what composites are, highlighting their advantages and explaining how they work. We will also consider how to design with composites and how to test composites and components to ensure that they perform to the best of their ability.

Composites are hybrid materials, a combination of two or more materials or forms, arranged in a pre-defined configuration, which combine the attractive properties of each material. Sometimes a composite has a desirable property which is not seen in any of the constituent materials, but which is realised by the act of combining the two. Successful composites deliver a positive effect to an application by getting the right balance of attributes in the material.

Composites are used increasingly in aggressive environments where the performance of normal monolithic materials would not be suitable. They are, for example, often used in aerospace due to their high strength and stiffness to weight ratio compared to metals, a factor which also saves on fuel use and decreases harmful fume release. The combination of properties that composites can have can lead to reduced environmental impact and a higher performance not found in conventional monolithic materials.

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