It is important to choose the right kind of composite core material that works as intended and offers the properties specified for users’ applications. However, there are many practical material options available, which make it important to first identify the criteria that have to be met by the material to help narrow down the decision-making process.
In this article, General Plastics covers the various factors that should be taken into consideration when choosing an appropriate composite core material. The company also specifically discusses material compatibility elements, significant processes, and application considerations.
The main function of composite core material is to offer stiffness, strength, and continuity across a structure without considerably increasing weight. Whether a core material is over-molded with self-skinning decorative cover/flexible foam or fixed between two composite skins to create a sandwich panel, it acts as the foundation or core member of a structure.
One of the main users of composite materials is the aerospace sector.[i] Composite materials are often used as cargo liners, interior floor and ceiling panels, window surrounds, panels, overhead stowage bins, food and drink trolleys, lavatory modules, galleys, and bulkheads/class dividers.
However, composites are increasingly being used across other different industries such as medical, transportation, marine, etc. In 2019, the U.S. composite end products market was estimated at $26.7 billion and is predicted to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.8% in the next five years to reach $33.4 billion by 2025.[ii]
Composite core materials, often recognized for their excellent strength-to-weight ratio, have to be assessed for other properties and qualities like chemicals, moisture, resistance to corrosion, durability, and other environmental exposures. But these qualities rely on the type of material utilized, which makes it exceptionally significant to analyze and select an ideal core material to meet the structural demands. The selection of a core material starts with careful consideration of the manufacturing process, material qualities, and the preferred performance.