Composite materials: the answer to the global challenge!

27. June, 2016

Composite materials, otherwise called „composites”, are made of at least two materials with different physical and chemical properties. When these are combined, the result is a material with properties that significantly differ from the properties of the materials used. Valmiera Glass Group manufactures composite fabrics that are made of glass fibres, by adding resin and processing them in a special way that has been adjusted to each separate type of fabric, thus providing maximum strength.

In the 1930s, American companies, such as „DuPont” and „American Cyanamid”, created polyester resin, while a company called „Owens-Illinois Glass Company” started the commercial production of fabrics made of glass fi bres. Both newly-created materials were joined, creating the first small scale boats. During the Second World War, due to the development of radar technology, there was a need for non-metallic solutions for military equipment. For this reason, metal was replaced with composites. After the war, composites became an important material used in the fields of engineering and the automotive industry. Nowadays, composite technologies are still being improved. Their importance and the range of application is constantly growing.

Composites have induced changes in various fields of engineering and solutions applied therein. Composites have become popular thanks to their strength, lightness and relatively low associated costs. We can see composites all around us: they are used in sports equipment, cars, interiors and exteriors, as well as domestic appliances and household objects, vehicles, etc.

Nowadays, composites have proven their value and secured their place in many uses. In the aviation industry, the use of composites is on the rise. There were only 12 % of composites in the total weight of a Boing 777, while in the Boing 787 the respective proportion is already 50 %. Various types of composites are used in the surfaces of flight control systems, chassis doors, cabins (floor supports and boards, luggage compartments), vertical and horizontal structure of supports, fan blades of engine turbines, propellers, etc. The use of composites is on the rise in construction as well. The first bridge that was fully built from composites was finished in 1992 in Aberfeldy, Scotland. It is still in use today and has been a source of inspiration to build other similar structures. Nowadays, there are hundreds of various bridges that are built from composites and are in active use, thus proving the reliability and durability of the material.

The latest innovation in Latvia that is being built from composites is an eco cellar. It will be partially dug into the ground. The highest quality composites guarantee excellent moisture resistance, and the cellar is entirely safe for storing food. The eco cellar is protected against rodents and other vermin, as well as harmful microorganisms, including mould. Walls of the cellar absorb neither moisture, nor odours. The cellar is easy to maintain and if required it can be easily disinfected.