Stress and failure analysis of composite materials using finite element method: a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Technology in Production Technology at Massey University

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In early history, it was found that combinations of materials would produce properties in those materials that were superior to those of the separate components themselves. For instance, Damascus gun barrels combined layers of iron and steel and Mongols made bows from cattle tendons, wood, and silk bonded together. Most naturally occurring materials also derive their superb properties from combination of two or more components which can be distinguished readily when examined under optical or electron microscopes, like many tissues in the body, wood , bone, etc. A more useful definition of a composite would be: The combination of a reinforcement material (such as a particle or fibre) in a matrix or binder material. The principle materials used for composite matrices are polymers, ceramics, and metals, with polymers being the most common. Reinforcements are plastics, ceramics, or metals. The different kinds of reinforcements and matrices are shown in the following diagram. [FROM INTRODUCTION]
Strains and stresses, Composite materials, Testing