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The role of the reinforcement in a composite material is fundamentally one of increasing the mechanical properties of the neat resin system. All of the different fibres used in composites have different properties and so affect the properties of the composite in different ways. The properties and characteristics of common fibres are explained below.
However, individual fibres or fibre bundles can only be used on their own in a few processes such as filament winding (described later). For most other applications, the fibres need to be arranged into some form of sheet, known as a fabric, to make handling possible. Different ways for assembling fibres into sheets and the variety of fibre orientations possible lead to there being many different types of fabrics, each of which has its own characteristics. These different fabric types and constructions are explained later.
Published courtesy of David Cripps, Gurit