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What are composite materials used for?

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Quick Answer

Composite materials have a wide range of uses in building materials, automobiles, construction work, pipelines, tools and many other applications. These materials have been used for thousands of years in the form of mud brick and metal alloys, but more recently the term refers specifically to reinforced plastics.

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Full Answer

Composite materials have a wide range of properties and uses, making them the most common building and manufacturing materials in use today. They are created by combining two different components in order to create a new material with different properties than those which were started with. Concrete, fabric blends, paint, particle board, plastics, glass and even paper are all examples of composite materials. Metallic alloys are a different type of composite, requiring metal ores to be combined in extreme conditions. These metal composites are often used in items such as utensils, ornaments, trinkets, statues and as building materials.

In 1940 fiberglass was invented and the modern era of composite materials began. The basic premise of a modern composite material is some sort of fiber material for the structure, and some sort of plastic or glue to hold the shape and provide strength. These fiber-reinforced plastic composites are used in manufacturing boat and kayak hulls, swimming pool liners, turbine blades, sporting goods and many other possible applications.

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