An eggshell is perhaps the best-known natural composite.
Composite materials are basically highly engineered combinations of polymer resins and reinforcing materials such as glass fibers that are incredibly strong, durable, flexible and non-corrosive.
The term “composites” is used broadly to describe a large range of materials that have generic reinforcement. These are combined with various resins that can be used for a large number of applications and are thus ideal for highly engineered materials targeted at specific applications. They are rapidly replacing products made the more traditional way from alloys and other metals. As raw materials become more expensive, so composites become a much more attractive and cost-effective proposition.
The expertise of MTM Plastics is in composite moulding. Examples of this type of technology can be found in many different industries today. Aviation is one such area that has embraced composites technology, with over 57% of aircraft components being made by this process. The Mass Transit industry, globally, also has taken the composites philosophy on board. If you travel today anywhere in Europe by train, the seats you sit on may well have been manufactured by MTM Plastics.
Durability, weight and corrosion are the three main advantages of choosing composites. Compared to steel and aluminium and based on density, composites have a superior stiffness-to-weight ratio. Given the same strength they are lighter than steel by 80% and aluminium by 60%. Many composites withstand continuous high operating temperatures up to 250˚C (482°F), and are highly resistant to corrosion.
The non-reactive nature of many resins and reinforcements can be custom-selected thereby resisting decomposition and degradation in chemically corrosive environments.
Durability is also a plus – well-designed composites have exhibited apparent infinite life characteristics, even in extreme environments.
Economically they make more sense. Composites offer designers an increasing array of choices through the vast range of materials on offer. The trend to use composites is highly favourable, especially when comparing the cost of fabrication. Our process allows the formation of a component in a single pressing, guaranteeing repeatability and consistency. This combined with lower initial start up costs and durability makes composites the right choice for many applications.
On worksites, the electrical insulating properties of composites are inherent (depending on reinforcement selected). Alternatively, composites can be made to conductor selectively conduct electricity. Tunable energy management characteristics, with high-energy absorption or high-energy conductivity, are also possible. Made to Measure thermal expansion properties can be compounded to closely match surrounding structures to minimize thermal stresses. Composites have such exceptional shaping and forming properties they are more comparable to the proverbial ‘putty’. They can be made to almost any shape during fabrication. The composites’ inherent shaping and forming characteristics allow production to be established for a fraction of the cost that would be required in a metallic fabrication. Even in extremely harsh environments, well-designed composites have shown such infinite life characteristics they may well last an eternity.
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