A composite material can be defined as a combination of two or more materials that results in better properties than those of the individual components used alone. In contrast to metallic alloys, each material retains its separate chemical, physical, and mechanical properties. The two constituents are a reinforcement and a matrix. The main advantages of composite materials are their high strength and stiffness, combined with low density, when compared with bulk materials, allowing for a weight reduction in the finished part.
The next advantages of composites are many:
- the ability to tailor the layup for optimum strength and stiffness
- improved fatigue life, corrosion resistance
- good design practice, reduced assembly costs due to fewer detail parts and fasteners