Development of materials technology has spawned a new type of material constructed of multiple layers stacked. This material is called a composite material. Composite material consisting of more than one type of material and is designed to get the best combination of characteristics of each constituent component. Basically, the composite can be defined as a macroscopic mixture of fibers and matrix. Fiber is a material that is (generally) much stronger than the matrix and the function is to provide tensile strength. While the matrix serves to protect the fibers from environmental effects and damage from the impact.
Glass fibers (glass fiber) is a material commonly used as a fiber. However, the current composite technology has been widely used as a pure carbon fiber. Carbon fiber has a much better strength than glass fiber but also more expensive production costs. Composites of carbon fiber has a strong, lightweight and well. Composites of this type are widely used for aircraft structures, sports equipment, and increasing use as a replacement for a broken bone.
In addition to glass fibers, polymer matrix can also usually be used as a fiber or amplifier. For example, the kevlar is a polymer fiber is very strong and can improve the toughness of the composite material. Kevlar can be used as a composite fiber of the product for a reliable lightweight structures, such as a critical part of the aircraft structure. Actually, the composite material is not original using of kevlar. Kevlar was developed to substitute for steel in radial tires and to make bulletproof vests or helmets.
As for the matrix, most modern composite materials using thermosetting plastic, which is usually called a resin. Plastic is a polymer that binds the fibers and help to determine the physical properties of the resulting composite material. Thermosetting plastic in liquid form but it will harden and become rigid when heated. This plastic has a resistance to chemical attack is good despite being in extreme environments.
For special purposes, use of the ceramic matrix, carbon and metals. For example, ceramics are used for composite materials that are designed to work at very high temperatures and carbon is used for receiving the friction products such as bearings and gears.
In the composite material, the technical term lamina and laminate. Lamina is a composite sheet with a specific fiber direction, while the laminate is comprised of a lamina. Laminate is made by inserting pre-preg lamina into the autoclave over a period of time and with a certain pressure and temperature as well. Auroclave is a tool for incorporating such a pressurized oven lamina.
Advantages compared with conventional composite materials, among others, which has a strength that can be set (taylorability), fatigue resistance (resistance fatigue) is good, corrosion resistant, and has the power type (type of strength to weight ratio) is high.
The main benefit of using composite is a combination of strength and high stiffness properties and density of the light. By selecting a combination of fiber and matrix materials are appropriate, we can make a composite material with properties similar to the exact nature of the requirement for a specific structure and purpose as well.
Modern aviation, both civil and military, is a prime example. Both would be very inefficient in the absence of the composite material. Advanced composite materials are now commonly used on the wings and tail, propeller, rotor blades, and also the internal structure of the aircraft. In addition to applications in the aerospace industry, today has a lot of composite materials are also used for car bodies F1, sports equipment, ships and oil and gas industry structure.
Obstacles in the application of composite materials is generally a matter of cost. Though often composite materials manufacturing process more efficient, but still too expensive raw material. Composite materials still can not totally replace conventional materials such as steel, but in many cases we are thinking about the need for it. No doubt, the technology continues to evolve, the use of new composite materials will emerge. We have not seen all of the composite material can do.