These composites are more resistant to fatigue and strain from repeated use in various devices such as aircrafts or car bodies, therefore, reducing maintenance costs and increase lifespan of vehicles (Price, 1997). Examples of composite materials include fibre-reinforced polymer, carbon-fibre-reinforced composites, and ceramic composites among others. Carbon-fibre reinforced composite is the common form of composite used today. These type of composite is made by heating rayon or other types of fibre to extremely high temperatures usually above 2000 degree Celsius in an oxygen deprived environment such as an oven (NASA, 2010). The tremendous heat in combination to lack of oxygen ensures that there is no combustion and that the strands are converted into pure carbon atoms. These strands produced are then spun into a thread and woven into appropriate sheets. The sheets are then hardened by addition of resins to produce a material that is not only strong, but also stiff. Composite materials consist of materials of stronger materials usually called reinforcement and a weaker material commonly known as a matrix. The reinforcement material provides the rigidity and strength required to support the whole structure while the matrix assists in maintaining orientation and position of the reinforcement (Brent, 2008). Figure 1 shows a simple diagram showing how composition of composites is done. Composite materials are continuously replacing traditional materials like aluminium in construction of vehicle body structural applications.
In the paper “Chemical and physical properties of carbon-fibre reinforced composites” the author analyzes many important reasons behind the desire to have composite materials. These include, the need for stronger materials, the need for lighter materials…
The researcher states that glass fibre reinforced unsaturated polyester were subjected to water immersion tests to know the results of the water absorption on the mechanical properties. 20 specimens with 10cm long of GFRP were used to this experiment, measuring their weight under different types of water and temperatures.
Research paper has shown that degradation of GFRP rebars embedded in concrete structures is affected by moisture uptake and elevated temperatures. UV radiations have had effects on gloss and chromatic factors which can be easily avoided. However, moisture content and temperature changes poses a threat in the strength.
main precursors are cellulosic fibers used are cotton, phenolic fibers, petroleum or coal tar pitch, viscose rayon, and polyacrylonitrile (PAN) (Mahrez, Mohamed & Katman, 2005).
Unlike graphite, that has planar carbon atoms layers, carbon fibers have carbon atoms ribbons
mbined with another plastic, such as methyl acrylate or methyl methacrylate, then is reacted with a catalytic agent in a solution polymerization procedure and results in a polyacrylonitrile plastic( Mazumdar, 2002.
The plastic then is spun into fibers via one of numerous
The author states that composite materials such as carbon-fibre composites have been widely applied in automobile processing. Carbon fibres are those fiber materials derived from carbon. They are mixed and bound together with other materials such as polymer resins processed under heat, pressure and vacuum.
The author states that in various engineering applications it is often the case that a given homogenous core material is reinforced using another material that is stiffer and also stronger to achieve required mechanical and material property. Usually the constituent material used for the reinforcement is fibrous.
The author states that the important drivers of the growth of polymer composites have been the reduced weight and parts consolidation opportunities the material offers. One of the advantages of carbon fibre composite materials that makes them dominant for use in the automotive industry is because they are light weight.
The author states that in certain cases, manufacturers of fibre-reinforced polymer use other fibres such as wood, paper and asbestos. Normally, the polymer is a piece of polyester thermosetting plastic, a vinyl ester or an epoxy. The aerospace, marine, construction and automotive industries are the most frequent users of FRPs.
The author states that the crash beam structure is required to be rigid in order to support stress and weight and to effectively secure or tie together the other car components. In addition, the crash beam must soften and resist the impact of crash at any accident event in order to safely protect the car occupants.