Development of a novel metastable composite material

Bradley, G R and MacKenzie, P M (2006) Development of a novel metastable composite material. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part L: Journal of Materials: Design and Applications, 220 (4). pp. 181-187. ISSN 1464-4207

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    The development of a new family of mouldable metastable composite materials has been demonstrated. Their special quality is derived from the ability to maintain the matrix as a supercooled liquid or gel whose solidification can be triggered mechanically, as desired, by a user. This article describes some aspects of the development work. In particular, the following are explained: the choice of matrix material; the use of additives to enhance the properties of the matrix; and the selection of reinforcement fibre. As part of the work, some mechanical testing was performed on several variations of a matrix-fibre pair and, to demonstrate the potential of such materials, some comparisons were made with a possible competitor material, a glass-reinforced urethane. It was shown that the metastable material could be formulated to provide mechanical properties that would make it suitable for applications such as orthopaedic casting, splinting and body armour, and in items of sports equipment, these being areas where its mouldability could be particularly desirable.