Combining fibers and matrixes

By combining plastics with different kind of fibers, we bring about different properties in making composites. Depending on the type of plastic and fibers, we can produce a wide variety of properties whether one need strength, light weight, flexibility -  in comparison to other traditional materials. Tell us what kind of features you need and so we can probably build it for you.


Below are a few lines about the fibers and matrixes we normally work with.


Fiberglass/polyester is a very common combination when it comes to fiber reinforced plastics (FRP). It is popular due its great versatility and features such as fairly low weight, durability, resistance towards heat/fire (special polymer) and general strength.


Carbon fiber/epoxy is a common combination for more extreme plastic-based composites. The specific mechanical properties are higher than compared to fiberglass/polyester, but the combination is also more expensive and is usually applied where very high requirements for strength and durability is in need. For some users and purposes a reason for using carbon fiber is because of its characteristic sleek black shiny carbon-look in a products surface.


Fiber used in FRP acts as a reinforcement element and is characterized by its low density and high strength as well as elastic modulus. Fibers are available in a range of different varieties in which the commercially most common fibers are fiberglass, carbon fiber and aramid fiber (Kevlar).


Research is carried out in how to apply and use also organic/biological fibers in a commercially sound manner.


Unidirectional parallel fibers are put together into a thin ribbon-like slivers form.


A fiber-mat consists of either cut or continuous fibers arranged in a swirl pattern which is squeezed to the desired thickness. The fibers are bound together either mechanically or chemically with a powder or emulsion binding agent.


A surface mat of fibers is a thin mat with the aim of preventing fiber impact serving as a protective layer between another reinforcement and the matrix.


Fiber-fabrics are composed of two or more systems of fiber bundles which in constant angle towards each other intersect and form a fabric-like structure. Weaving can be done through various bindings which involves various properties in tensile strength, density, absorption features and smoothness.


The most common binding of fibers are woven with a 90° angle to each other. Fiberglass is available in different qualities. The most common industry standard is E-glass (where the “E” stems from its initial electrical application use, S-glass which is a high strength (or stiff) glass, C-glass which is specifically chemically resistant, and D-glass (dielectric), where the properties are adapted according to the intended use.

The purpose of a plastic/polymer-matrix is to bind together the fibers, thereby obtaining strength and protect them. In addition, the important purpose of a matrix is to take up mechanical forces and allocate them to the fibers. The adhesive properties of a matrix is therefore important. Thermosetting plastics are highly resistant to temperatures and cannot be melted down after curing.


Polyester, also known as ester plastics, is the most abundant array of fiber reinforced plastics and it is used mostly in combination with glass fiber.


Ester plastics resistance to high temperatures is good and glass transformation temperature is normally above 110° Celsius, which makes it useful for many types of construction purposes.


If the request is high fire safety in products that can withstand very high temperatures and/or does not emit toxic gases at flash points there are fire-retardant polymers available.


Among the many good features of polyester/matrix composite one should also mention good resistance to acids and bases, very good electrical insulation properties and fast curing.

Epoxy plastics is a common polymer/matrix normally used in combination with carbon fiber, but it can also be included in other combinations. Epoxy plastics have good resistance to chemicals and temperatures up to C 130°, and tends to be more stiff/rigid than ester. 


Vinyl ester resins are used when the features of polyester resins are not enough. Vinyl plastics, which is more expensive than polyester is more similar to epoxy and characterized by good chemical resistance and good mechanical properties. The curing process is independent of pressure and temperature, and shrinking during curing is very low. Vinyl plastics has also very good adhesive properties.


BPAB use different combinations of plastics and fibers, known as FRP. FRP in combination with other materials, such as stone, wood, clay, thermoplastics, metal, etc., integrated into a finished product are named multi-material products. The purpose of the multi-material concept is to bring out desirable optimal properties, features and looks. We kind of like to experiment a lot!