A Combination Of Properties

Half of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is made up of composite materials, 82 % of the Eurofighter Typhoon consists of them, and some unmanned aerial vehicles are made of nothing else. Composite materials are not only in the sky, though — they can even be found in your home. What kind of materials are they, you ask?

What Is a Composite?

At its core, the word “composite” means a “mixture” or “compound.” Today, engineers use this word to refer to a material consisting of two or more parts. The properties of a composite differ quantitatively and qualitatively from the properties of each of its constituent materials. Despite the variety of compositions, most of the composite materials have two fundamental parts: the reinforced filler, which is responsible for the desired mechanical properties, and the matrix, which binds the reinforcing elements.

The principle of the composite device

  •  Metal-ceramic
  • Ceramic-polymer
  • Metal-polymer

Can a metal alloy, for example, be a composite? The answer is no, as the composite materials do not mix and remain physically separated from each other.

Subscribe to read in full

Get Unlimited Digital Access for all issues

The subscription renews automatically. You can unsubscribe at any time


An astronaut floating in space above the earth, surrounded by particles and positrons.

Subscribe to continue reading

Get 20% off your first order!