Composites Essay

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The discovery and widespread usage of composite materials has opened new doors in the manufacturing industry. Composites are materials composed of two or more different materials. The new material has distinct and superior structural properties than the individual component materials. The most ancient composite is adobe, which consists of straw reinforced clay and was commonly used as a building material [1]. Modern composites consist of a woven fiber, which reinforces a plastic polymer shell. Two major examples of modern composites are fiberglass and carbon fiber. Carbon fiber is a very new composite material and has a more recent history than materials such as steel and aluminum. Its origins can be traced to 1879, when Thomas Edison patented the usage of carbon filaments in electric lamps [2].…show more content…
In a relatively short period of time, carbon fiber revolutionized the manufacturing industry due to its low weight and superb structural properties. Carbon fiber is a composite material. Composite carbon fiber is composed of a woven carbon fiber which reinforces a polymer resin (usually epoxy) [3]. The carbon fibers themselves are polymers of graphite (which has a hexagonal sheet structure) rolled into a thin filament [2]. The tensile strength (resistance to tearing from being pulled) and Young’s Modulus (force required to stretch or compress a material) are extremely high in relation to the fiber’s weight. The internal strength of carbon fiber lies in the structure of the weave and the impact resistance comes from the hard plastic polymer shell. This paper will focus on the production process of Polyacrylonitrile (PAN) carbon fiber, the applications of carbon fiber in industry, and the future applications of this revolutionary
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