Why Composites Are Fast-Replacing Traditional Materials Such As Steel and Aluminum

July 26, 2021 / Painted Rhino
Why Composites Are Fast-Replacing Traditional Materials Such As Steel and Aluminum

Manufacturing continues to see the benefits of composite materials used by themselves or in combination with traditional building materials, such as steel and aluminum. Each year, industries use more and more composite materials to enhance designs and bolster sales because of four primary benefits.

1. Composites Are Lighter and Stronger Than Traditional Materials

Carbon fiber composites are quickly becoming a favored material in both the auto and aerospace industries because the material is solid and lightweight. When viewed purely on a strength-to-weight ratio, carbon fiber weighs about a quarter of its steel counterpart and less than three-quarters of aluminum. Additionally, the composite, per weight, is stiffer than both materials and has better absorption qualities.

Auto manufacturers and engineers can reduce a vehicle's weight by up to 60% by using composites. And that’s without losing the effectiveness of crash safety measures. According to industry reports, crash safety is only improved when implementing multi-layer composite laminates because they absorb more energy than single-layer steel. Finally, the cost of composites is going down, meaning manufacturing improvements reduce car prices on the consumer end.

2. Composites Allow for Flexibility and Affordability of Design

Composites do not have restrictions on shaping or design. Anything a person can think of can be made using composite materials. With such ingenuity, a person can create intricate and complex structures without risking its integrity because the entire piece is reinforced.

Additionally, while steel and other conventional materials were capable of conforming to complex shapes and structures, the labor required for such endeavors was costly and, in some cases, dangerous. With composites, the manufacturing process is quicker and easier to maintain, meaning companies can save money in the long run.

3. Composites Are More Durable Than Traditional Materials

Most raw materials, like metals, do not hold up well to external factors, with many substances falling victim to rust and corrosion. While a composite might corrode if bonded to metal parts, it tends to maintain its shape and function regardless of exposure. The material is also among the strongest of most polymers, making it ideal for outdoor structures. The dimensional stability of composites means most environmental factors — temperature and weather — do not phase them, allowing composite structures to maintain their shape and strength.

4. Technology Integration Allows for Quicker Production

Composites were once challenging to manufacture because of the involved lay-up process. However, with technological advancements, it is now possible to construct composite parts without manual labor, allowing businesses to focus on end tasks, like final construction. In addition, by eliminating the complicated process and streamlining technology with production, companies can now afford what many engineers would dub a superior product.

The advantages of composites are many, and industries are beginning to alter production setups to include the integration of composite materials. While only you can determine what is right for your business, if you would like to discuss the potential of composite design within your operation, contact Painted Rhino, an expert in the field.