Composite materials: at the heart of industrial transformations

True tools of competitiveness and innovation, composite materials offer manufacturers new possibilities in the design of more efficient products better adapted to the constraints of use. However, they still carry little weight compared to plastics, aluminum or steel. FILAB assists manufacturers in the optimization and use of these composite materials, which are subject to specific analysis issues. 

Composite materials: when 1+1 makes 3

In science, a “composite” material is an assembly of two or more components whose respective properties complement each other to form a new material with improved overall performance. 

Composed of a main matrix (organic, ceramic or metallic) and a reinforcement (usually in the form of fibers), the composite material has properties aimed at improving the quality of the product and its life span, taking into account its final use. With a mechanical resistance comparable to that of metals such as steel, composites are used for their low volumetric mass, thus lightening the final part and offering greater design flexibility (more complex shapes).

Industrial applications of composite materials

Although still not widely used compared to “classic” materials, which have a historical lead in terms of know-how and investments in production plants, composites are gradually gaining weight in industrial differentiation and innovation strategies. Faced with increasingly stringent environmental and safety standards, manufacturers are seeking to optimize their production processes by using new materials, such as composites.  

Today, composites are mainly used in the transportation sector – aeronautics, automotive and railway industries – where the lightness of materials is synonymous with energy savings. For a long time confined to secondary parts, manufacturers are increasingly using composite materials in their production processes in order to significantly lighten equipment parts without impacting their strength or performance.

Sports equipment manufacturers have also taken advantage of composite materials to improve the conditions of use and practicality of their equipment. While maintaining the resistant and rigid character of sports materials, composites make it possible to associate other properties specific to the use of the product such as lightness (more speed) or resistance to thermal conditions.  For example, the production of skis has been associated with silica fibers allowing to gain in sliding speed and practicality.

More recently, composites are playing an increasing role in the medical devices sector (dental implants, prostheses…). In spite of important constraints in terms of biocompatibility, requiring several controls and examinations, the lightening character of medical devices represents an improvement of the living conditions for the concerned patients. 

FILAB analyses the characteristics and performance of your composite materials

Although the use of composites has many advantages, the variety of possible mixtures makes their analysis more difficult than for conventional materials. The knowledge and tools around these new materials are still limited and the predictions of behavior are restricted. Therefore, the support of an external analytical service provider with analytical tools on the one hand and material expertise on the other hand, helps you to carry out your R&D projects.

With an analytical park of 2,100 m² and a team of materials experts, FILAB laboratory supports manufacturers from all sectors in the integration, control or improvement of composite materials in the production process.

FILAB can provide several types of services

  • Characterization of the composite material structure: length, diameter, degree of impregnation in the mass…
  • Identification of the different components of the composite material from the matrix, reinforcement and additive mixtures.
  • Study of failure: rupture, non-conformity, dilamination, aging, color change…

For this purpose, our laboratory has a Scanning Electron Microscope, coupled with an EDX probe, to study the different structures of the composite (carbon fiber, glass fiber, ceramic …). Also, thermogravimetric analyses by ATG coupled with FTIR will allow to highlight the physicochemical specificities of the material according to the temperatures.

FILAB is an independent laboratory with a team of doctors and engineers experienced in the analysis of composite materials. FILAB ensures a quick processing of your requests, as well as a personalized support for your industrial projects.

Would you like more information on our composite materials analysis? Contact our expert Jérôme Goux via contact@filab.fr.

The positive aspects of FILAB

  • A highly qualified team

  • Responsiveness in responding to and processing requests

  • A complete analytical park of 2100m²

  • Tailor-made support

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