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Composition

Composition, i.e., the filler content of composites may change in a wide range. The effect of changing composition on composite properties is clearly seen in Fig. 1. The interrelation of various factors determining composite properties is also demonstrated by the figure; the same property may change in a different direction as a function of matrix characteristics or interfacial adhesion. The goal of the use of fillers is either to decrease cost or to improve properties, e.g., stiffness, dimensional stability, etc. These goals require the introduction of the largest possible amount of filler into the polymer, but the improvement of the targeted property may be accompanied by the deterioration of others. Since various properties depend in a different way on filler content, composite properties must be always determined as a function of composition.

Structure

The structure of particulate-filled polymers seems to be simple; the homogeneous distribution of particles in the polymer matrix is assumed in most cases. This, however, rarely occurs and often special, particle-related structures develop in the composites. The most important of these are aggregation and the orientation of anisotropic filler particles.

 
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