Are composite materials sustainable?
Table of content:
- Composite materials: the manufacturing process and fiber-reinforced composites
- Where to use it? Composite materials application
- Conclusion. Are composite materials reliable?
Sustainability of materials plays an important role for many people. This point becomes one of the main in the process of selection because it involves reliability and the long term using. We can find many kinds of composites: composite lumber, fiber-reinforced plastic, SMC composite, epoxy composite, etc. All of them have particular qualities and technical characteristics that can improve or spoil your project. Despite that composite materials are not innovative building material in the consumer market, this fact cannot give 100 percent certainty in their reliability and safety. In this article, we will figure out the technical nuances of composite materials, the advantages, and disadvantages of using it, and of course find the proofs of its sustainability!
Composite materials: what is it and why using it is profitable?
Let’s start with the manufacturing process. A composite material is a building material made from two combined components with different structures, physical and chemical characteristics. Cause of sandwich structure these materials mixed producing a new one with other benefits and profits
The new material may apply for many reasons. Generally, composites have many advantages such as lower cost in comparison with traditional metal or wood. Furthermore, composites that have a low level of petroleum in their structure have more stable prices that are not so influenced by the international market.
The technical characteristics of composite materials are also profitable. The first that we can highlight is a long term usage that doesn’t need a big amount of service requirements. This is already about reliability. For example, fiber-based composites suggest water-, fire- and corrosion (if it is not steel fiber) resistance enabling to use it in different terms such as extremely high or low temperatures, seawater, or aggressive environment. But not all kinds of fibers can withstand it. All of them have disadvantages such as corrosion of steel, fiberglass low level of temperature resistance, the high price of carbon fiber.
All the above requirements can be perfectly executed by basalt fiber composites.
If we compare it with carbon or aramid fiber, we will see a significant difference in an application temperature range that can sustain -452° F to 1,200° F (-269° C to +650° C). Apart from the mentioned fire and water resistance it also never corrodes and has higher radiation protection. Basalt fiber-based composites are also perfect for creating any designs and shapes cause of higher compression strength, and higher shear strength. Besides, adding of basalt fiber gave a possibility to reduce the thickness from 40 mm to 20 mm, while the strength of the finished product remained unchanged. It also helps reduce the materials cost when receiving the same technical characteristics of the finished product. High compatibility to other materials: metals, plastics, resins – opens a good perspective in producing different composite materials: cellular constructions, fiber-reinforced plastics, insulation and protection surfaces, etc.
You also buy time. Adding fiber makes it possible to increase the productivity of the enterprise by faster maturing of the concrete elements (time reduced by 30%).
Where to use it? Composite materials applications
Fiber-reinforced composite materials actively used in the automotive industry for its lightweight and excellent crash properties supplemented with noise and vibration-reducing characteristics. Modern globalized automotive and aerospace production companies apply advanced composites and coating systems in their final product lines. Moreover, we can find fiber-reinforced composites in yacht and crane constructions which also points to sustainability.
Thanks to ecological safety and noncarcinogenic properties, the product does not require a hard recycling process and showed better quality than glass fiber in many applications:
- thermal and sound insulating materials
- reinforcing materials for the production of brake pads and friction discs
- sealing fillers for engines and mufflers
- reinforcement of outer covers (tires) of wheels by continuous basalt fibers and bands
- pultrusion products
Many building companies also use composites in the residential buildings sector for different aims. For example to prevent cracks in screeds. Experience of using basalt mesh instead of steel helps to simplify the workflow by reducing the number of operations and refusing of putting the mesh and reduced the costs. Generally, replacing the material entailed many advantages and helped to create more sustainable construction with a big amount of resistance at a low price.
Sustainability of composite materials appreciated even in the aerospace industry. This rapidly developing industry is constantly looking for new high-strength materials that have incredible strength and suitable physical properties.
It is very convenient to use them in the manufacturing process because the flexible structure allows reducing the number of fasteners and joints. This method is faster and more economical. Composites are also used as basic structural details of many modern helicopters. Still, in the 1950s composite materials were used for creating rotorcraft fairings and rotor blades.
Conclusion. Are composite materials reliable?
As we can see, people use composite materials in a wide range of industries. Most of them are very serious and do not tolerate errors. So, it’s very important to choose reliable and sustainable materials that will be used for a long time, have a flexible structure, and good compatibility with the aggressive environment. All of these requirements are satisfied by fiber-reinforced composite materials. Although natural fiber has disadvantages, basalt fiber perfectly solves this problem. It is cheaper and stronger than carbon fiber, never corrodes and its application temperature range is extremely wider than any of the other fibers. All technical characteristics create conditions that can confirm the reliability of fiber-based composite materials. Exactly these points pushed people to use composites in different manufacturing processes without fear of failure. So, if after reading this article you want to try basalt fiber composites in your production, tap here and get to know all kinds of Technobasalt-Invest products.