• Krishan K. Chawla


Reinforcements need not necessarily be in the form of long fibers. One can have them in the form of particles, flakes, whiskers, short fibers, continuous fibers, or sheets. It turns out that most reinforcements used in composites have a fibrous form because materials are stronger and stiffer in the fibrous form than in any other form. Specifically, in this category, we are most interested in the so-called advanced fibers, which possess very high strength and very high stiffness coupled with a very low density. The reader should realize that many naturally occurring fibers can be and are used in situations involving not very high stresses (Chawla 1976; Chawla and Bastos 1979). The great advantage in this case, of course, is its low cost. The vegetable kingdom is, in fact, the largest source of fibrous materials. Cellulosic fibers in the form of cotton, flax, jute, hemp, sisal, and ramie, for example, have been used in the textile industry, while wood and straw have been used in the paper industry. Other natural fibers, such as hair, wool, and silk, consist of different forms of protein. Silk fibers produced by a variety of spiders, in particular, appear to be very attractive because of their high work of fracture. Any discussion of such fibers is beyond the scope of this book. The interested reader is directed to some books that cover the vast field of fibers used as reinforcements (Chawla 1998; Warner 1995). In this chapter, we confine ourselves to a variety of man-made reinforcements. Glass fiber, in its various forms, has been the most common reinforcement for polymer matrices. Aramid fiber, launched in the 1960s, is much stiffer and lighter than glass fiber. Kevlar is Du Pont’s trade name for aramid fiber while Twaron is the trade name of aramid fiber made by Teijin Aramid. Gel-spun polyethylene fiber, which has a stiffness comparable to that of aramid fiber, was commercialized in the 1980s. Other high-performance fibers that combine high strength with high stiffness are boron, silicon carbide, carbon, and alumina. These were all developed in the second part of the twentieth century. In particular, some ceramic fibers were developed in the last quarter of the twentieth century by some very novel processing techniques, namely, sol-gel processing and controlled pyrolysis of organic precursors.


Carbon Fiber Draw Ratio Fiber Axis Rice Hull Ceramic Fiber 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Further Reading

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Materials Science and EngineeringUniversity of Alabama at BirminghamBirminghamUSA

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