A composite material is an assembly of two or more non-miscible materials (but which have a high capacity to adhere to each other). The new material thus constituted has properties that the two constituents alone do not have.

This phenomenon, which improves the quality of the material making it more suitable for a certain use (making it lighter, more rigid under an effort force, etc.), explains the growing use of composites in different sectors of industry. Nevertheless, the precise description of composites remains complex from a mechanical point of view.


A composite material consists of two materials, a reinforcement which provides mechanical strength and a protective matrix which is generally a plastic (thermoplastic or thermosetting resin) and which gives the structure its cohesion and transmits the efforts to the reinforcement. Today, there are a large number of composite materials which are generally categorised in three families according to the nature of the matrix:


The main applications for composites are in air transport (civilian and military), maritime and rail transport, the building industry, aerospace and also sports and leisure, thanks in particular to their good mechanical strength compared to homogeneous materials like steel and their low density.

Main composites

Fibreglass is used in making swimming pools in particular.

Carbon fibre used in aviation.

Plywood used in joinery, construction, cabinet making.

Plasterboard partitions, much used in construction for applications not exposed to the weather .

Reinforced concrete in civil engineering.

Aramid fibre (or Kevlar, which is a trade name) used for ballistic protection in bulletproof vests

GLARE, consisting mainly of aluminium and fibreglass, is used in aircraft construction

See Carbon/kevlar
See Laminates (metal/fibreglass/glass)
See Hard or refractory ceramic
See Composites by the RTM process
See RTM composite machining
Cutting and machining of composite materials by water jet cutting