This article discusses the types, properties, and uses of continuous-fiber-reinforced composites, including glass, carbon, aramid, boron, continuous silicon carbide, and aluminum oxide fiber composites. While polyester and vinyl ester resins are the most used matrix materials for commercial applications, epoxy resins, bismaleimide resins, polyimide resins, and thermoplastic resins are used for aerospace applications. The article addresses design considerations as well as product forms and fabrication processes.
The design and analysis of aerospace and industrial composite components and assemblies requires a detailed knowledge of materials properties, which, in turn, depend on the manufacturing, machining, and assembly methods used. This article, through several tables and graphs, provides the mechanical properties, physical properties, and service characteristics of representative composite fiber-resin combinations, including thermoplastic matrix composites such as thermoplastic polyester resins, thermoplastic polyamide resins, and thermoplastic polysulfone resins, and thermoset matrix composites such as thermoset polyester resins, thermoset phenolic resins, thermoset epoxy resins, thermoset polyimide resins, and thermoset bismaleimide resins.