Why Composites are Different?
Composites are different because the materials are inherently corrosion resistant, high strength, and light weight. The materials can be tailored to meet any performance requirement. This attribute make composites perform differently compared to metals. Designers and engineers have the ability to modify the physical and chemical characteristics by specifying different materials. For example, high glass fiber reinforcement structures produce maximum physical strengths; high resin content structures produce maximum chemical resistance. An engineer can specify the combination of the two materials to create a composites structure resulting in an optimum design. You cannot do this with metals.
Designing with composites is also different compared to steel. Composites are anisotropic meaning the maximum strength is in the direction of the fiber reinforcements. This provides engineers and designers with a powerful tool to maximize the performance efficiency of a structure. Composites have a higher tensile strength but a lower modulus of elasticity. However, working with product manufacturers, engineers can specify unique fiber architectures with different forms of glass fiber reinforcements that make composites have superior performance over metal.