The Benefits of Composite Materials in Infrastructure

The Benefits of Composite Materials in Infrastructure

In our last blog, we discovered the sustainable benefits of GRP (Glass Reinforced Polyester) in comparison to the use of more traditional materials in building.  In this piece, we’ll be looking at composite materials in the built environment, and how these will be helpful in a variety of infrastructure possibilities.

What do we term as composite materials?

Amongst the composite materials umbrella, there are three primary categories.  These are ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) - ceramic or carbon fibres that are surrounded by a carbon matrix, metal matrix composites (MMCs) – usually made from aluminium and popular due to its strength, and polymer matrix composites (PMCs) – used for transferring loads between fibres through the matrix.


A plethora of applications

Within the building industry, there are so many different sectors which mean that certainly, one composite does not suit all.  Each application has its own individual demands in terms of material and capabilities. The aerospace industry in particular, has incredibly specific requirements in order to develop commercial aircraft and structures for spacecraft.  Equally, the military sector requires extensively high-level strength materials in order to construct their aircraft.

As for structural developments, these can vary from bridges to major hydraulic construction, with demand for corrosion response and deteriorated structures also requiring specific composites to meet each individual application’s needs.  In addition, composite materials are frequently used in commercial mechanical engineering applications.  These include transport uses such as car and train, or internal combustion engines and thermal management.

How are composites useful?

There are several major advantages of using advanced composite materials, however in this blog, we’re going to look at four particular elements in terms of building structures.  We know that no two builds are the same, and will have certain demands.


1. Super strength

One of the most invaluable properties of composite material has to be in terms of its strength.  With their particularly high strength-to-weight ratio, composites make ideal materials for a vast variety of industry sectors and applications.  When you consider that carbon fibre only weighs as much as 25% of the weight of steel, or even 70% in terms of aluminium, you can clearly see the huge advantage that using composites can have.  Not to mention that composites are equally far stiffer and stronger per weight, both for aluminium or steel making them an ideal choice for so many structures.


2. Reduction in maintenance

A huge demand in industry is without a doubt, the increasing cost of upkeep.  You’ll want to know that when you’re creating any form of structural development, that not only will it be as low cost as possible, but also that the materials used won’t have the potential to wear over time.  A superb benefit of ultra-flexible composites is in their resistance to corrosion, and their durability.  This means that you’ll be safe in the knowledge that the composites will not result in decay such as in the use of metal alloys; with no rust or corrosion in poor weather conditions, and super-long lifespan.


3. Environmentally-friendly

Any industry sector will understand the pressure of generating eco-friendly options for every element of building and development.  Finding recycled plastics and other equally environmentally friendly materials is most definitely the name of the game, and using composites will meet these requirements.  Whether it’s for composite cladding or any other form of manufacture, you can be reassured that you’ll have highly durable and long-lasting materials, that look great, function extremely well, and aren’t harmful to the environment either.

Plura – leading the way in composites

At Plura, we certainly are aware how important it is to deliver far superior materials for your building projects, regardless of size.  Which is why we spend extensive time on selecting the most state-of-the-art products.  All of our composites are designed to meet the needs of your projects – created to the highest quality structural requirements, and using recycled plastics. Whether part of a built environment, where we find first-class alternatives to traditional materials such as wood or steel, our composites are super-lightweight and benefit from extra-long life.  We’re also particularly proud that we offer composite profiles, that are carefully manufactured here in the UK – which offer the perfect alternative for an extensive range of traditional metal components – regardless of shape or size.


Discuss your next project with us