Carbon Nanostructures and Nanocomposites
Composites are materials made from two or more components that are constructed to take advantage of the combination of properties offered by the components. Conventional composite structures have a long history in the development of materials with useful and often unique properties. An important historical example is the mixture of clay and straw used to build adobe structures. The clay provides a high-volume solid matrix, whereas the straw reinforces the brick against fracture. Modern examples of composites include carbon fiber composites used in structures that range from advanced aircraft to tennis rackets, fiberglass that is used for relatively strong yet lightweight structures such as boat hulls, Portland concrete, which is composed of a combination of Portland cement, sand, rock, and water, “carbon black” particles in automobile tires which increase wear resistance, and reinforced concrete, where the metal rebar helps stabilize the structure against fracture under shear stress.