Although we often are not aware of it, composites are present in our everyday life. What is a composite? The easiest definition claims that it is a combination of two, having different characteristics materials which, when combined together, give very durable and resistant to various conditions material. Predominantly, one of the components is an adhesive (i.e. chemically hardenable resins: epoxy, polyester, silicone) which guarantees its consistency, flexibility, durability and resistance for compression, while the second one, called a constructive component or reinforcement (i.e. fiberglass, carbon, aramid), is responsible for the rest of composites' properties. The biggest and the most frequently used group of composite materials contains polymer matrix composites, which are also called “plastic” ones. Chemosetting resin matrixes are often called laminates. Fiberglass or carbon reinforced polymeric composites were used for the first time in 1950's in the transport, aircraft, architecture and automotive industries.
However both, an adhesive and constructive components are chosen in regard to the later application of a particular composite, there are properties that remain the same. These are: durability, weight, outdoor conditions resistance (water, air, chemical substances).
- medicine (prostheses, orthoses, medical beds, rehabilitation equipment),
- sailing and water sports (boats, canoe, scooters, surf and sailboards),
- automotive (F1 cars made of carbon fiber, elements of a car body: bumpers, mirrors, hoods, spoilers),
Another very important branch of industry in which composites remain crucial, is the production of industrial moulds. The above-mentioned, thanks to highly specialized materials, can compete with traditional aluminium moulds. The unquestionable advantage of composite moulds is their price, which is able to reduce the costs of production.