While there is something more wholesome and purist in singular traditional materials such as solid wood or metal, the benefits of composite materials can often outweigh them. If you’re thinking that composite materials are just cheaper versions of the real thing, then you can think again. Composite materials are often designed for a specific use and can therefore be more suited to the need.
Composite materials can have a high strength-to-weight ratio, which means that while it is lightweight (up to 30-40 per cent lighter than steel or aluminium), it is also very strong. This makes it a good material to build with. The tensile strength can be up to six times greater than that of traditional materials. These materials are also more resistant to corrosion and retardant to fire. Their long life means that they need less maintenance than traditional materials, and hold up better under stress and fatigue. Composite materials also eliminate the need for joints and fasteners as they have enough strength to be designed to exact requirements.
Wide Range of Uses
Because composites can be made out of a variety of different types of material, it means that they can be used in a wide range of applications. For instance, composites can be used for:
- Transport Sector: bicycles, marine transportation, auto transportation, etc.
- Chemical Industry: underground storage tanks, drive shafts, fan blades, etc.
- Construction: ceiling and wall boards, building blocks, etc.
- Consumer Sports Goods: canoes, golf equipment, archery equipment, etc.
As the environment has changed, so have the needs and wants of the building industry and its clients. The focus has changed to sourcing and sustaining eco-friendly materials, but critics of composite materials have often sneered at composites, claiming that they cannot possibly be as green as natural wood, for instance.
However, this is simply not true. It comes down to the way the company creates or supplies materials. Natural wood and composite suppliers can be just as eco-friendly or as unfriendly as they choose to be.
Granted, making composite materials more environmentally friendly is more of a challenge than with traditional materials, but that doesn’t mean that it cannot be done. It means changing the entire process into something more cost-effective, from the design, to the material, to the tools that are used, and even programme management. Companies such as Dura Composites have made a commitment to reducing the environmental impact of their products, the proud sponsor of this post.
Photo: Dura Composites