Engineers and scientists have long been involved in the making of various materials. While the world enjoys a seemingly infinite array of materials for almost any type of application imaginable, industry continues to develop new materials and refine current ones to ever push the envelope. Standard materials, in particular plastics, which have been modified in some capacity to improve their physical properties are commonly referred to as engineering materials.
Over the years, a good number of engineering materials have been developed including metals, wood and alloys. Among the most useful engineering materials today, are composite materials. These materials have long been used in a number of industries for a number of purposes. You might be amazed to learn that they have also been widely used in ancient times for a variety of purposes.
First of all, composites are materials that are made up of more than one material. This means that they constitute several materials which when combined together make a single, new material. Over the years, this has become the most common way of making engineering materials. There are numerous reasons that account for the development and use of composite engineering materials. One of most notable reasons is the fact that they contain better physical properties than a single isolated material. A composite material consists of constituent materials whose properties are different from each other. Although they may possess properties which may be similar in nature, their properties show a marked distinction that makes them worth combining. Upon combining the materials, often times the newly produced composite material features the combined physical property advantages of each of its constituent materials.An engineer designing a composite material always ensures that the best constituent materials are chosen depending on the properties that they possess. The final composite material that is formed possesses properties which are a combination of the materials that are constituted in it.
But, why would anyone want to come up with a material that is made up of more than one constituent? One such reason can be related to processing costs. Depending on the material, the part produced, and the nature of production, it can be cheaper to process a composite than the individual constituents. Sometimes the processing costs are not the ones that govern the decisions behind the use of a composite material. Rather, the durability of a single material may be less than the durability of a composite material. For this reason, a composite material may be used in the place of a single material. For example, pure iron is susceptible to corrosion whereas stainless steel is more resistant to corrosion. Therefore, the stainless steel is used instead of pure iron.
Perfect examples of composite materials are thermoplastic composites, bronze, brass and concrete. All these materials are used extensively in the industry where they are used because of the many advantages that are associated with them.
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