Composites - material properties and manufacturing technologies


Composites, known also as fibre-reinforced plastics (FRP), are defined as materials which are a combination of reinforcements and matrix. Neither of these are well suited for construction purposes on their own , but when combined result in a very strong and rigid material.

Composites can be divided roughly into two groups: synthetic materials reinforced with short fibres, and synthetic materials reinforced with long (continual) fibres. In fibre reinforced plastic materials, the properties of the fibres are used to resist tensile and compressive loads, while the plastic – the matrix material – transfers shear.


Composites offer many good qualitites that cannot be gained with other materials.
The flexibility in design and the unique material properties give designers, engineers and architects totally new kind of possibilities to bring their ideas alive.

When using composite materials instead of traditional materials such as steel, for example, there are normally significant reductions in weight due, in part, to the specific properties of the individual components and low dead weight, and partly because it is possible to produce composites for specific purposes.


Because it is a combination of materials, a composite product can be combined and designed with a view to specific load-bearing capacities, while providing a number of advantages in relation to traditional materials, such as

  • resistance to chemicals
  • electrical insulating properties 
  • thermal insulating properties
  • high strength-to-weight ratio
  • high fatigue resistance
  • high impact strength
Exel Composites Oyj, Vantaa head office, Mäkituvantie 5, FI-01510 Vantaa, Finland