The properties and applications of polymer matrix composites
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Polymer matrix composites (PMCs) are present in almost all aspects of modern life. Derived from its name, meaning many repeating units, polymers are often made up of branches of carbon and hydrogen chemically linked together to make a chain. Let us go through the properties and applications of polymer matrix composites. 


The properties

The constituents of a PMC, which affects its overall properties, are the matrix, reinforcement and interphase. Aside from the types of matrix and reinforcement used, other factors affecting the properties of a PMC are the constituents’ relative proportions, the reinforcement geometry and the nature of the interphase. 


The main benefits of PMCs are their strength and stiffness. Other qualities when reinforced include: 

  • Improved processing

  • Greater toughness 

  • Thermal conductivity and expansion control

  • Density control

  • Flame retardancy 

  • Improved fatigue strength

  • Cost reduction

  • Impact, fatigue, fracture, abrasion, corrosion and high creep resistance

  • High specific strength/stiffness to weight ratio


The applications 

PMCs are known for their low cost and straightforward fabrication methods. They are used in:

  • Automotive industry for body panels, leaf springs, driveshaft, bumpers, doors, etc.

  • Aerospace industry for constructing structural parts for military aircraft, space shuttles, and satellite systems. 

  • Marine for fibreglass boat bodies, as well as canoes and kayaks. 

  • Sporting goods in performance footwear, sports equipment and other sporting goods. 

  • Biomedical applications for implants, orthopaedic devices, MRI scanners, X-ray tables, and prosthetics. 

  • Electrics for panels, housing, switchgear, insulators, and connectors. 

  • Protective equipment for bulletproof vests and other armour. 

  • Industrial applications for chemical storage tanks, pressure vessels, pump housing, and valves. 

  • Structural application to repair bridges and other construction equipment like booms and cranes. 


We appreciate you taking the time to read our blog post on the properties and application of polymer matrix composites. If you are thinking about studying abroad, take a look at our Master’s degree in Lightweight Engineering & Composites.



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