What are composites and why are they replacing traditional materials?

Composites are stronger and longer-lasting than other materials, such as steel, and have the added advantage of being resistant and largely immune to weather damage and chemicals. Composites are used in applications such as panels, frames, bridges, buildings, hulls of boats, storage tanks, marble worktops, racing car bodies and showers.

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In recent years, we have witnessed a shift away from traditional materials such as aluminium and granite and it is thanks to composites’ strength that they are gaining such popularity. Amongst the industries using composites are aerospace; energy; automotive, where the desire is to make vehicles lighter and more fuel-efficient; architecture; infrastructure; marine; military; and leisure and recreation.

Cost-effective and easier to produce

Composite materials are lighter; as a result, they are more cost-effective. Their low electrical conductivity gives them the added bonus of having a lower fire risk, so companies prefer to opt for composites as they are reasonably safe. They also have thermal properties and are often used to insulate certain components. Their versatility is also attractive and they are compatible with various coatings and adhesives. They also degrade much less than traditional materials.

Companies such as https://www.poeton.co.uk/advanced-treatments/apticote-480-advanced-nickel-composite/ offer high-quality nickel composites for operational purposes. With a track record of expertise in the industry, such specialists will have surface treatments to suit your every requirement.

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According to Composites World, composites researchers at the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre are currently developing self-responsive aerospace composites with the aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and aviation production costs.

Composites are resistant to damage through chemicals

Although composites can corrode if they are bonded to metal parts, they don’t go rusty and they keep their shape. Traditional materials can bring about unwanted warping or swelling if the temperature rises, which is one of the many reasons that manufacturers opt for composites. Another advantage to composites is that they tend not to sustain damage through chemicals. Composites can also be moulded into more challenging shapes and are therefore versatile, serving many purposes that cannot be achieved using traditional materials. These are just some of the reasons why manufacturers often choose composites over traditional materials.

Major producers such as Airbus and Boeing have demonstrated the need for large composites in aviation, while NASA always seeks out composites for innovative solutions for its space rockets. It is less effort working with composites because the various parts can be custom-made to ensure strength is embedded in particular areas. A composite part can be created to resist bending in one direction, which is a good example of directing the strength to a specific part of the design.

Composites are strong and resistant to wear and fatigue, which is another appealing aspect. Their strength is particularly important in infrastructure; for example, composites can withstand repeated loads, which is essential when it comes to infrastructure such as bridges. The hard-wearing element is essential and composites have been shown to withstand inclement weather.

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