- Composite materials are substances which contain 2 or more materials that combine to produce new substances with different physical properties from the original substances.
- Some composite materials and their components are:
Reinforced ConcreteComponent: Concrete (cement, sand, stones), steel
- Ordinary concrete is strong but heavy. Concrete pillars must be big to support the weight. They take up space and cannot withstand stress for example from earthquakes.
- Steel pillars are too expensive and can rust.
- Reinforced concrete, containing steel rods in the concrete pillars, can make them stronger and able to support larger loads. It also does not rust.
Optical FibreComponent: SiO2, Na2CO3, CaO
- This is a fine transparent glass tube that is made of molten glass.
- In telecommunications, light has replaced electrons as the transmitter of signals. This light transmits signals through optical fibre.
- Optical fibre is also used in the medical field as
- laser to do operation
- endoscope to examine the internal organs of patients
Photochromic GlassComponent: glass, AgCl (or AgBr
- Photochromic glass is very sensitive to light.
- It darkens in the presence of bright light and lightens when the amount of sunlight lessens.
FibreglassComponent: Fibreglass and polyster resin
- Fibre glass is obtained by adding a polyester resin to molten glass. It cannot be compressed easily and is more tensile than the original materials.
- Fibre glass is light, withstands corrosion, can be cast into different shapes, is impervious to water, not very flammable, not brittle and stronger than even steel.
- It is used to make racquets, construction panels, electrical appliances, pipes, and water tanks.
SuperconductorComponent: Ytrium oxide (Y2O3), BaCO3, CuO
- Superconductors are electrical conductors which have almost zero (0) electrical resistance. Therefore, this conductor minimises the loss of electrical energy through heat.
- Yttrium barium copper oxide is a type of ceramic superconductor
- Superconductors are used to make magnets which are light but thousands of times stronger than the normal magnet.