The material. Composites are one of the great material developments of the 20th century. Those with the highest stiffness and strength are made of continuous fibers (glass, carbon, or Kevlar, an aramid) embedded in a thermosetting resin (polyester or epoxy). The fibers carry the mechanical loads, whereas the matrix material transmits loads to the fibers and provides ductility and toughness as well as protecting the fibers from damage caused by handling or the environment. It is the matrix material that limits the service temperature and processing conditions. Polyester-glass composites (GFRPs) are the cheapest and by far the most widely used. A recent innovation is the use of thermoplastics at the matrix material, either in the form of a coweave of cheap polypropylene and glass fibers that is thermoformed, melting the PP, or as expensive high-temperature thermoplastic resins such as PEEK that allow composites with higher temperature and impact resistance. High-performance GFRP uses continuous fibers. Those with chopped glass fibers are cheaper and are used in far larger quantities. GFRP products range from tiny electronic circuit boards to large boat hulls, body and interior panels of cars, household appliances, furniture, and fittings.
Epoxy + continuous E-glass fiber reinforcement (0, н— 45, 90), quasiisotropic layup.
GFRP body shell by MAS Design, Windsor, UK.
Electrical conductor or insulator? Good insulator
Typical uses. Sports equipment such as skis, racquets, skate boards and golf club shafts, ship and boat hulls; body shells; automobile components; cladding and fittings in construction; chemical plant.