Composites are increasingly replacing the traditional materials of steel, timber and concrete in a number of industries. This is primarily due to the cost, weight and performance improvement which are possible using composite materials. As design engineers are under increased pressure to find alternates, they are discovering thermoset composite technology can improve design, will allow for part integration, reduce the weight and work with other materials to help improve the quality of the project and provide benefits in the total project costs.
Whilst composites offer many advantages, thermoset composite materials have many unique properties. These include exceptional strength, light weight, corrosion resistance, UV resistance, electrical non-conductance, and exceptional thermal properties. These composite material properties make thermosets a good alternative to concrete in general, including polymer-concrete, timber and, in particular, a good choice for metals conversion. There are many global examples where composites are replacing these traditional materials in the food, construction, building, automotive and mining industries.
Compression moulding is usually the moulding technique chosen to process thermoset and thermoplastic composites as it offers advantages over other moulding techniques. These are primarily based on its ability to allow for part consolidation where parts are moulded in one single process, which reduces the total cost and it allows for the low glass fibre to apply its maximum benefit in reducing weight and improving load and structural performance. This ability reduces the need for extra finishing or sub assembly and improves the look and performance of the part.
There are many other advantages in using composites over steel, timber and concrete, which include environmental issues of corrosion, rust or extreme heat. With a better strength-to-weight ratio than most metals, thermoset composites are a reliable substitute for traditional materials.
Composite are used as a replacement for high performance metals, allowing more flexible design better strength to weight performance, dimensional control, resistance to corrosion and manufacturing efficiency. Thermoset composites, such as Bulk Moulding Compound (BMC) and Sheet Moulding Compound (SMC), offer the following benefits over metals.
- Light weight
- Cost savings
- Component consolidation
- Significant parts consolidation
- UV resistance
- High impact strength
- Superior electrical insulation
- Moulded-in colour
As Australia’s largest composite business and a global exporter, CME can help improve product design, manufacturability, and performance by switching to thermoset moulding compounds. CME has successfully converted many cast aluminium, zinc, iron, steel fabrication, and other custom metal fabrication parts to thermoset composite materials, providing its customers with substantial cost savings and superior performance. Examples of metal conversion with thermoset moulding compounds.
Replacement of a Steel Wheel Tub to a composite wheel tub in the Automotive Industry
- The Maloo HSV Tail Gate
- The International Cricket Helmet
- Timber tray in the food industry
- Construction door skins
CME chemists and engineers are a resource available for all customer enquiries looking for material conversions or new programs using composite. Our team of researchers is available to help formulate the right composite to suit your specification and design requirements.