Composites Glossary

New to Composites? Check out our quick reference glossary below to get you started!

Composites: A material made up of one of more materials where combining the materials delivers qualities greater than those of the individual constituent material. An examples might be a composite of glass fibre and carbon fibre. 

Carbon Fibre: Carbon Fibre is a material consisting of thin, strong crystalline filaments of carbon, and is used as a strengthening material, especially in resins and ceramics.

Kevlar: Kevlar is a synthetic fibre with very high high tensile strength. it is often used as a reinforcing agent in the manufacture of tyres and other rubber products. Sometimes known as “Aramid Fibre

Graphene: Graphene is a form of carbon that consists of planar sheets which are one atom thick, with the atoms arranged in a honeycomb-shaped lattice.

Glass Fibre: Glass Fibre is a strong plastic, textile, or other material which contains embedded glass filaments for reinforcement.

S Glass: S-glass is one of the more technically important glasses. It has very high strength and stiffness and is an excellent material for reinforcement.

CTE: The coefficient of thermal expansion refers to the the rate at which the size of the material changes with relation to this temperature change. The fibres in composites are subject to a lower CTE meaning the fibres expand to a much lower degree when heat is applied or generated.

Specific strength: The specific strength of an object is defined as the strength of the material it is constructed from, divided by its weight. When substituting metal components for composites, the weight is reduced and this the ratio greatly increases.

Roll-Wrap: A method of manufacturing composite tubes where sheets of composite material are rolled and wrapped around a central mandrill. This process is repeated to the desired thickness.

Deformation: When a sufficient load is applied to a material and repeated over time, this pressure will – over time – cause the material to change shape in some cases permanently. This change in shape is called deformation. Composites offer a unique advantage of metal components in that that composites are able to withstand extensive deformation without permanent set.

X-Ray Transparency: Carbon Fibre is actually transparent when subject to x-ray making it an ideal material for use in the medial field as no components will show up and potentially distort the findings of an x-ray.

Corrosion: The natural wear and tear imparted onto a component by the elements – water, air, sand etc. Composites offer advantages over metal components by offering greater resistance to this damage over time.

Axial Fibre Alignment: The alignment of exact composite fibres within the structure of a finished tube.

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