The composite material


Wood was the first natural composite material used. Later, cob was used in construction for its insulation and cost properties. Among the earliest man-made composites are the Mongol arches (2000 BC). Their wooden soul was lined with tendon on the back and horn on its internal face.

  • 1823: Charles Macintosh creates the raincoat with rubber on fabrics such as cotton.
  • 1892: François Hennebique files the patent for concrete.
  • 1940 : linen fibers and phenolic resins are used in the British aeronotics industry1945 fiber glass and epoxy fiber are used in the United States and in Germany.
  • 1956 : the headliner of the  Citroën DS is made of composite materials
  • 1967 : the  Alouette helicopter blades are made of composite material.
  • 1970 : the turbine impellers of the Rolls-Royce’s RB211-22 engine are made of carbon fiber composite
  • 1970 : Rossignol develops skis made of fiber glass and resin
  • 2009 : the  Boeing 787 is composed of 50% of composite materials.

What is composite

The composite material is an assembly of at least two immiscible materials (but having a high adhesion capacity). The new material thus formed has properties that the elements alone do not possess.


  • The reinforcement is the skeleton supporting the mechanical forces. It can be in many forms: short fibers (mat) or continuous fibers (fabrics or multidirectional textures) depending on the intended application. Fibers most often have good tensile strength but low compressive strength.
  • The main purpose of the matrix is ​​to transmit the mechanical forces to the reinforcement.It also ensures the protection of the reinforcement vis-à-vis the various environmental conditions.

The composite material formula depends on the kind of application, loading ratio… and this differs from standard materials with which it is the design of a structure which has to adapt to the constituent material.

Avantages of the composite material

  • Corrosion resistance
  • Good resistance to chemicals agents
  • Fire resistance
  • Modular
  • Low density
  • Good insulation
  • Transparent to Electromagnetic waves