Polymer Matrix Composite (PMC) is the material consisting of a polymer (resin) matrix combined with a fibrous reinforcing dispersed phase. Polymer Matrix Composites are very popular due to their low cost and simple fabrication methods.
Use of non-reinforced polymers as structure materials is limited by low level of their mechanical properties: tensile strength of one of the strongest polymers - epoxy resin is 20000 psi (140 MPa). In addition to relatively low strength, polymer materials possess low impact resistance.
Reinforcement of polymers by strong fibrous network permits fabrication of Polymer Matrix Composites (PMC) characterized by the following properties:
The main disadvantages of Polymer Matrix Composites (PMC) are:
Two types of polymers are used as matrix materials for fabrication composites: Thermosets (epoxies, phenolics) and Thermoplastics (Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE), High Density Polyethylene (HDPE), polypropylene, nylon, acrylics).
According to the reinforcement material the following groups of Polymer Matrix Composites (PMC) are used:
Reinforcing fibers may be arranged in different forms:
Properties of Polymer Matrix Composites are determined by:
Properties of Polymer Matrix Composites may be estimated by the Rule of Mixtures.
Polymer Matrix Composites (PMC) are used for manufacturing: secondary load-bearing aerospace structures, boat bodies, canoes, kayaks, automotive parts, radio controlled vehicles, sport goods (golf clubs, skis, tennis racquets, fishing rods), bullet-proof vests and other armor parts, brake and clutch linings.