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Elements of Mechanical Engineering

Module- 4

COMPOSITE MATERIALS

4.1 Composite materials


Composite materials (also called composition materials or shortened to composites) are
materials made from two or more constituent materials with significantly different
physical or chemical properties, that when combined, produce a material with
characteristics different from the individual components. The individual components
remain separate and distinct within the finished structure. The new material may be
preferred for many reasons: common examples include materials which are stronger,
lighter or less expensive when compared to traditional materials.
Typical engineered composite materials include:
1. Composite building materials such as cements, concrete
2. Reinforced plastics such as fiber-reinforced polymer
3. Metal Composites
4. Ceramic Composites (composite ceramic and metal matrices)
Composite materials are generally used for
1. Buildings,
2. Bridges and
3. Structures such as boat hulls, swimming pool panels,
4. Race car bodies,
5. Shower stalls,
6. Bathtubs,
7. Storage tanks,
8. Imitation granite
9. Cultured marble sinks and
10. Counter tops.
11. The most advanced examples perform routinely on spacecraft in demanding
environments.

4.2.1 Advantages of Composites


1. Composites have light in weight and high strength and stiffness. This makes
them to use in the highly competitive airline market.
2. Lesser the weight of aircraft, more fuel economy
3. Production cost is less.
4. Long life
5. High tensile strength.
6. Improved thermal conductivity.
7. Corrosive resistance.
8. Easier to achieve smooth aerodynamic profiles for drag reduction.
Prof. Dinesh R. , CMRIT, Bangalore-37

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Elements of Mechanical Engineering


4.2.2 Disadvantages of Composites
1. High cost of fabrication. A part made will be 10-15 times more than the
material cost.
2. Composites are more brittle than wrought metals and thus they are easily
damaged.
3. Repair of composites is not simple process compared to that of metals.
4. Composites do not have high strength and toughness compared to metals.
5. PMC has low thermal resistance.
6. PMC has high co-efficient of thermal expansion.
7. Composites are not isotropic. Their properties are not same in all directions.
8. Composites do not give high performance in all properties used for material
selection.
4.3 Classification of composites
Composites are mainly classified based on
1. Geometry of reinforcing material
2. Type of matrix material.

Composites

Prof. Dinesh R. , CMRIT, Bangalore-37

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Elements of Mechanical Engineering


Further thermoset and thermo plastic are classifed as shown in diagram

4.4 Applications of Composites in Automotive Engineering


1. MMC are used to make automotive disc brakes.
2. Some sports car rotors are made from carbon fiber within a silicon carbide
matrix because of its high specific heat and thermal conductivity.
3. Ford Company has used MMC make drive shafts which are made of aluminum
matrix reinforced with boron carbide. This increases the critical speed of the
driveshaft by reducing inertia in cylinder.
4. Aluminum MMC liners are used in some Honda engines.
5. CMC are used in brake disks in automotive industry,
6. CMC are used in emergency running systems for rapidly rotating machines or
friction pads for clutches.
7. PMC are used for manufacturing secondary load bearing aerospace structures.
8. PMC are used in Brakes and clutch linings.
9. Body panels in passenger cars as well as race cars are commonly made out of
composites materials.
10. Other applications include composite leaf springs for suspensions and composite
drive shafts.
11. Tyre has complex internal structures with multiple reinforcing plies at various
orientations. Reinforcement can be steel wire, polymer or Kevlar cords and the
matrix is synthetic elastomer with carbon black as a particulate reinforcement.

Prof. Dinesh R. , CMRIT, Bangalore-37

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Elements of Mechanical Engineering


4.5 Applications of Composites in Aerospace
1. In rocket structures, extrusions of GFRP (Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymer) and

CFRP (Carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer) are used.


2. For solid propellant rockets, the rocket motors are made of Kevlar (Organic)

fiber or Reinforced Glass Fiber because of high specific strength.


3. Several structural parts both for primary and secondary structures for Boeing

777 are made of composite materials.


4. For light weight structures of nose cone in Boeing 787 is made from CFRP.
5. Antinov 225 worlds biggest plane, most of the structural parts and wings are

made of CFRP and GFRP composite materials.


6. In Boeing 737, Graphite-epoxy is used in aircraft structures and many

components. Thin sheets of the material can be stacked in various ways to meet
specific strength or stiffness needs. Graphite-epoxy is about as strong as
aluminum and weighs about half as much.
7. Composites of honey comb structures with metallic or rein-impregnated paper

honeycomb core materials are used in military and civil aircrafts.


8. In Boeing 757, Polymer-impregnated fiber, are placed in sequential layers for

the mould parts and flooring. They are fabricated by laborious process called
Lay-up.
9. The Airbus 320 uses a whole range of components made from composites,

including the fin and tail plane. This has allowed a weight-saving of 800 kg over
its equivalent in aluminium alloy. Composite materials comprise more than 20%
of the A380's airframe. Carbon-fibre reinforced plastic, glass-fibre reinforced
plastic and quartz-fibre reinforced plastic are used extensively in wings,
fuselage sections (such as the undercarriage and rear end of fuselage), tail
surfaces, and doors.
10. Glass fibre composite (GRP) is used in applications where thermal insulation is

important, for example in local bracketry. The material is also used in some
antenna reflectors.
11. Examples include: Airbus Industries A 320 and A380 , Harrier AV-8B, European

Fighter Aircraft (EFA), Aircraft propellers, Helicopter Airframes , Helicopter


rotor blades and Helicopter rotor hubs.

Prof. Dinesh R. , CMRIT, Bangalore-37

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Elements of Mechanical Engineering


4.6.1 Metal Matrix Composites (MMC)
MMC contains a
Metallic matrix (Aluminum, Magnesium, iron, cobalt, and copper) and
Dispersed ceramic materials (oxides, carbides) or
Metallic (lead, tungsten, molybdenum) phase.
Metal matrix composites are generally produced by dispersing ceramic or metallic
materials into a metal matrix.
Ex: Carbon fiber can be used as reinforcing material in aluminum matrix.
Applications
1. MMC are used to make carbide drills.
2. MMC are used to make tank armors
3. Aluminium- Graphite composites are used in power electronics modules because
of their coefficient of thermal expansion.
4. MMC are used to make automotive disc brakes.
5. Some sports car rotors are made from carbon fiber within a silicon carbide
matrix because of its high specific heat and thermal conductivity.
6. Ford Company has used MMC make drive shafts which are made of Aluminium
matrix reinforced with boron carbide. This increases the critical speed of the
driveshaft by reducing inertia in cylinder.
7. Aluminium MMC liners are used in some Honda engines.
4.6.2 Ceramic Matrix Composites (CMC)
CMC contains a ceramic matrix and fibre of other ceramic material. Ceramic matrix
composites are generally produced by dispersing ceramic materials into a ceramic
matrix.
Carbon silicon carbide and aluminium oxide are used as fibrous material.
Aluminium oxide, silicon carbide and zirconium oxide are chiefly used as matrix
components.
Applications
1. CMC are used in many high temperature processes. They have a very high
thermal shock and creep resistance, which enables designs with large
mechanical and thermal loads.
2. CMC can also be used in extreme environments like gas turbines, operating
temperatures of gas turbines have been increased to improve energy efficiency.
3. CMC are used in brake disks in automotive industry
4. CMC are used in emergency running systems for rapidly rotating machines or
friction pads for clutches.

Prof. Dinesh R. , CMRIT, Bangalore-37

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Elements of Mechanical Engineering


4.6.3 Polymer Matrix Composites (PMC)
PMC use a polymer base resin (Thermoset and thermoplastic) as the matrix and variety
of fibres such as glass, carbon, aramid steel or Kevlar fibers (dispersed phase) as the
reinforcement. PMC are known for their low cost and simple manufacturing methods.
Ex: Glass fiber reinforced polymers, Carbon fiber reinforced polymer composites and
Kevlar (aramid) fiber reinforced polymer.
Applications
1. PMC are used for manufacturing secondary load bearing aerospace structures.
2. Boat bodies.
3. Automotive parts
4. Bullet proof vests.
5. Canoes
6. Kayaks
7. Sport goods
8. Brakes and clutch linings
4.7.1 Particulate Composites

Particulate Composites consists of varying shape and size immersed in a matrix as


shown in figure.
Ex: 1. Aluminium particles in rubber.
2. Silicon carbide particles in Aluminium
3. Gravel, sand and cement in concrete.
4. Graphite fibers in epoxy
Advantages
1. Improved strength.
2. Increased operating temperature.
3. Oxidation resistance.
4. Minimum shrinkage
5. Increases wear resistance.
Prof. Dinesh R. , CMRIT, Bangalore-37

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Elements of Mechanical Engineering


4.7.2 Fibre-reinforced plastic (FRP)

FRP has following components


1. Matrix (long fiber) in the form of continuous phase.
2. Fiber (short fiber) in the form of discontinuous or dispersed phase
3. Fine inter phase
Fibre-reinforced plastic (FRP) (also fibre-reinforced polymer) is a composite material
made of a polymer matrix reinforced with fibres. The fibres are usually glass, carbon,
basalt or aramid, although other fibres such as paper or wood or asbestos have been
sometimes used. The polymer is usually an epoxy, vinylester or polyester thermosetting
plastic, and phenol formaldehyde resins are still in use. FRPs are commonly used in the
aerospace, automotive, marine, construction industries and ballistic armor.
Sometimes, modifiers or additives are used to reduce the cost, workability and to
impart desired properties. Figure shows fiber orientation in fiber reinforced
composites.
4.7.3 Laminate Composites

Layer 1
Layer2
Layer3

In materials science, Composite laminates are assemblies of layers of fibrous


composite materials which can be joined to provide required engineering properties,
including in-plane stiffness, bending stiffness, strength, and coefficient of thermal
expansion.
Prof. Dinesh R. , CMRIT, Bangalore-37

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Elements of Mechanical Engineering


The individual layers consist of high-modulus, high-strength fibers in a polymeric,
metallic, or ceramic matrix material. Typical fibers used include graphite, glass, boron,
and silicon carbide, and some matrix materials are epoxies, polyimides, aluminium,
titanium, and alumina.
Plywood is the best example for Laminate Composites
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VTU Syllabus:
Introduction, Definition, Classification and Applications (Aircraft and
Automobiles)
Prof. Dinesh R. , CMRIT, Bangalore-37

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