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ASM Handbook

Metallography and Microstructures

Edited by
George F. Vander Voort
George F. Vander Voort
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Book Chapter

Optical Microscopy of Fiber-Reinforced Composites



This article illustrates the polymer matrices used for composite materials. It describes the use of prepeg materials in manufacturing high-performance composites. The article discusses the various infusion processes for the development of fiber-reinforced composites, namely, resin transfer molding, vacuum-assisted resin transfer molding, and resin film infusion. It explains the composite- and matrix-toughening methods for fiber-reinforced composites, such as dispersed-phase toughening and interlayer toughening. The article concludes with information on optical microscopy, which provides an insight into the micro- and macrostructure of fiber-reinforced composites.


This article describes how composite specimens are sectioned, documented, and labeled during sample preparation. The mounting procedures for the specimen are summarized. The article explains sample clamping, which involves not mounting the specimens using an adhesive or casting resin and corresponds to clamped samples used in automated polishing heads. It details that cavity molds involve mounting the composite specimens using a casting resin in a preset mold. The article also discusses the mounting of composite materials for hand polishing.

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2004. "Optical Microscopy of Fiber-Reinforced Composites", Metallography and Microstructures, George F. Vander Voort

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