3D printing, a form of additive manufacturing, refers to processes used to synthesise a three-dimensional object in which successive layers of material are formed under computer control to create an object.
Advanced Composite Materials
Automated Dry Material Placement
Automated fibre placement is a process that automatically places multiple individual prepreg tows onto a mandrel at high speed, using a numerically controlled, articulating robotic placement head to dispense, clamp, cut and restart as many as 32 tows simultaneously.
Aramid Fibre Reinforced Polymer
Advanced Glass Reinforced Concrete
One of the largest voluntary standards development organisations in the world, originally known as the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).
Advanced Thermoplastic Composites
Alumina trihydrate / aluminum trihydrate: A widely-used flame retardant additive for polymers.
Similar to automated fibre placement (AFP), Automated Tape Laying (ATL) is an even speedier automated process in which prepreg tape, rather than single tows, is laid down continuously to form parts.
Acrylic resins are thermoplastics and feature excellent transparency and durability.
Processes in which objects are created by adding material (as opposed to removing material). Also see 3D printing.
Aramid fibres are a class of heat-resistant and strong synthetic fibres. They are often used in aerospace and military applications for ballistic-rated body armour fabric and ballistic composites.
Autoclave moulding process
The laid-up part is vacuum bagged and consolidated under vacuum, and then cured in an autoclave (pressurised oven).
Industrial automation is the control of industrial machinery and whole industrial processes through the use of tailored equipment and software. Such automation ensures a continuous, smooth and efficient running of machines and processes while reducing the need for human intervention.
Basalt Fiber Reinforced Polymer
Bladder Inflation Moulding
Bulk moulding compound: A ready-to-mould glass fibre reinforced thermoset polymer material primarily used in compression moulding, as well as in injection moulding. Semi-products composed of a mix of resins reinforced with chopped fibres, injected under high pressure and at high speeds.
Basalt fibre is a material made from extremely fine fibres of basalt, which are drawn from molten basalt rock. It has better mechanical properties than glass fibre, but is cheaper than carbon fibre.
Material fully or partially derived from biomass.
A product wholly or partially derived from biomass.
A material is considered 'biodegradable' if it can be decomposed by microorganisms such as bacteria, fungus, algae, earthworms, etc. As a result, water (H20), carbon dioxide (CO2) and/or methane (CH4), and by-products (residue, new biomass) form, which are non-toxic for the environment.
Material of biological origin, excluding material embedded in geological formations and/or fossilized. Terrestrial vegetation, algae, animals, microorganisms and biowastes make up or produce biomass. They are directly or indirectly derived from photosynthesis and are renewable.
Bioplastics are materials that are either bio-based, biodegradable, or both.
Natural polymers derived from renewable plant or animal resources. They may be directly synthesised by plants or animals as in the case of polysaccharides (starch, cellulose, chitosan, etc.), proteins (collagen, gelatine, casein, etc.) and lignins, or synthesised from biological resources such as vegetable oils (rapeseed, soy, sunflower, etc.). Other biopolymers, like PHA, are produced by microorganisms (bacteria) through the fermentation of sugars and starch.
Biowastes are the organic wastes derived from plant or animal natural resources. Household biowastes include kitchen waste (vegetable peelings and other food scraps) and green waste from the garden (hedge clippings, lawn trimmings, dead leaves, etc.).
A textile process that involves the counter-rotation of multiple fibrous yarns around a circular frame to intertwine the yarns into a braided fabric.
Computer-aided design/computer aided manufacturing
Composite Concept Vehicle
CF (Carbon Fibre)
CF (Chopped Fibres (carbon))
Chopped Fibres (carbon)
Computational Fluid Dynamics (simulations)
Composite Flow Moulding
Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastics/Polymer
Continuous Fibre Reinforced Plastics
Continuous Fiber-Reinforced Thermoplastic Composite
Carbon Fiber-Reinforced Wood
Continuous Fibre Thermoplastic
Coefficient of Linear Thermal Expansion
Computerized Numerical Control
CNF (Carbon Nanofibres)
CNF (Cellulose-based NanoFiber filler material)
Cellulose-based NanoFiber filler material.
Coefficient of Expansion
Coefficient of Thermal Expansion: A measure of how much a material expands on heating.
Chemical Vapor Deposition
Carbon fibre tow
The multi-filament continuous strand used to weave carbon fibre fabrics. As a standalone product, it can be used to make wound parts, in pultrusion, or chopped as a local reinforcement.
A high performance reinforcement fibre, with a high strength to weight ratio.
An economic model whose goal is to produce goods and services in a sustainable way, by limiting consumption and wasted resources (raw materials, water, energy) as well as waste generation. The idea is to make a break from linear models (extract, manufacture, consume, discard) and to adopt a 'circular' one where a product’s entire life cycle is integrated, starting with eco-design, through consumption, then to waste management, while limiting wastage at every step.
Closed moulding process
In closed moulding, materials (fibres and resin) cure inside a two-sided mould or within a vacuum bag (shut off from air). Closed moulding processes include compression moulding, injection moulding and resin transfer moulding.
Composite materials, also widely known to 'composites,' are materials composed of at least two components with significantly different physical or chemical properties that, when combined, form a new material with superior performance and with properties different from the individual components. Fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) composites are the dominant type of composite material.
Compound / compounding
Semi-products derived from plastics, in the form of pellets that are ready for final forming. They may contain fillers (such as talc), reinforcements (such as glass fibre), plastifiers and additives pre-mixed with a polymer. These pellets are melted, extruded or moulded, to manufacture objects. By definition, a compound is thermoplastic and the polymers most frequently used are PP, PE or PA. Compounding, therefore, is producing such compounds.
Compression moulding process
A high volume process that uses SMC that is cut into smaller sheets and the charge pattern (ply schedule) is assembled on a heated mould. The mould is closed and clamped and pressure is applied. As material viscosity drops, the SMC flows to fill the mould cavity. After cure, the part is demoulded manually or by integral ejector pins.
Compression moulding is one of the original processing methods for manufacturing plastic parts developed at the very beginning of the plastics industry. Although it is also applicable to thermoplastics, compression moulding is commonly used in manufacturing thermoset plastic parts.
Defined as the capacity of a material or structure to withstand loads tending to reduce its size i.e. tending to compress it.
Engineering theory shows that the flexural stiffness of any panel is proportional to the cube of its thickness. The purpose of a core in a composite laminate is therefore to increase the laminate’s stiffness by effectively ‘thickening’ it with a low-density material. This can provide a dramatic increase in stiffness for very little additional weight.
The toughening or hardening of a polymer material by cross-linking of polymer chains, brought about by heat, chemical additives, etc. Typically, thermoset resins require curing. The curing process has a stong influence on the final properties of the part.
Direct Long Fibre Thermoplastics
Double Diaphragm Forming
Dough Moulding Compound
Endless-Fibre Reinforced Long Fibre Thermoplastics
Takes into account environmental aspects throughout the life cycle (from extraction of raw materials up to elimination as waste), starting with the design phase of a product (good or service), in order to improve the environmental performance and ensure that the service rendered is equivalent or superior.
Epoxy resins are thermosetting resins widely used with carbon fibre to manufacture high performance composite structures with superior mechanical properties.
A thermomechanical manufacturing process by which a compressed material is forced through an opening in the shape of the part to be obtained. A long product or a flat one can therefore be formed, like tubes, profiles, sheets or boards. Production outputs are high.
Fibre Bragg Grating Sensor
Finite Element Analysis
Fused Filament Fabrication
Fibre-Reinforced Concrete: Concrete which has been reinforced either by the addition of random chopped fibre strands or by some type of continuous strand either as-is or in the form of a textile. Fibres can be of glass, carbon or basalt.
Fibre Reinforced Polymer: A polymer matrix blended with certain reinforcing materials, such as fibres.
Fire (or flame), smoke and toxic fume (or toxicity) (FST) standards are safety standards relating to materials used in the passsenger rail industry.
Fibre volume fraction, or fibre volume ratio, is the percentage of fibre volume in the entire volume of a FRP composite part. A higher fibre volume fraction usually means higher mechanical properties.
An individual or company that manufactures polymer based parts via one or more moulding processes. The term fabricator is often used interchangeably with the term moulder although fabrication could imply processes other than moulding alone e.g. assembly, painting.
Fatigue resistance is the ability of a material to resist weakening caused by repeatedly applied (cyclical) loads.
Filament winding process
Fibre tows are drawn through a liquid resin bath and wound onto a rotating cylindrical mandrel in the desired orientations.This process is often used to manufacture pipes and tanks.
Fillers are sometimes added to a composite formulation to reduce cost or improve performance. Typical composite fillers are calcium carbonate and talc.
Among the materials used as core materials in composite sandwich structures, lightweight polymer foam cores are very popular. They can typically be based on PVC, PET or other polymers.
Glass Fibre Reinforced Plastics
Glass Mat Thermoplastics
Grill Opening Reinforcement
Glass Reinforced Plastics
Sandwich of glass-fibre/epoxy prepreg material between thin sheets of aluminium
Glass fibre reinforced gypsum
A composite where the matrix is inorganic gypsum and the reinforcement is glass fibre.
The most widely used reinforcement fibre in polymer composite materials.
A glass fibre-based nonwoven fabric made via a dispersion of chopped glass fibre strands in water and processed on a paper making machine creating a thin flat compact fibre structure. Typically used to improve surface appearance and performance of a composite part.
A gridshell is initially a flat structure which is then raised into a double-curved shape. The forces transform what were initially square grids into similar parallelograms causing the diagonal lines through the nodes to change and to create a self-supporting structure.
Hifh Modulus Ductile (technology)
High-Modulus Polyethylene Fibre
High Pressure Die Casting (process)
Hand lay-up (also known as contact moulding)
An open moulding process where fibre reinforcements are placed by hand in a mould and resin is applied with a brush or roller.
Heat conductivity (λ)
Expressed in W/mK or W/m°C, it represents the capacity of a material to slow the loss of heat: the lower the value for heat conductivity, the better heat insulation it will provide.
IM (Injection Moulding)
IM (Intermediate Modulus)
In Mold Coating
Defined as the ability of a material to absorb shock and impact energy without breaking.
Impregnation (resin impregnation)
Resin impregnation of the reinforcement is very important as the mechanical properties of the composite will depend on the degree of contact between the resin and all the individual fibres in the strands or tows of reinforcement being used.
A process that makes use of thermoformable materials (in particular, thermoplastics). The plastic material is softened, injected into the mould, and then cooled.
Injection moulding is considered one of the most common plastic part manufacturing processes. It can be used for producing parts from both thermoplastic and thermoset polymers. The process usually begins with taking the polymers in the form of pellets or granules and heating them to the molten state. The melt is then injected/forced into a chamber formed by a split-die mould.
A process that creates multiple loops of yarns, called stitches, in a line or tube to create a textile. It was historically used to produce hosiery like socks and stockings.
Life cycle analysis, or life cycle assessment, is used as a tool to assess the environmental impacts of a product, process or activity throughout its life cycle.
Lower Explosive Limit which is the level of concentration in percentage by volume in air above which explosion can occur upon ignition in a confined area
Low Styrene Emission
Long Fiber Injection
Long Fiber Thermoplastic
Low Profile Compression Moulding
Liquid Resin Infusion
Linear Variable Differential Transducer
Low-Weight Reinforced Thermoplastic Composites
Textile structure in which the weft and warp yarns are linked together by an adhesive.
A laminate is an organised stack of unidirectional (UD) composite plies (unidirectional meaning the plies have a single fibre direction rather than a weave pattern). Laminates provide the basis for theoretical composite properties and related design.
Methyl Ethyl Ketone
Methyl Ethyl Ketone Peroxide
Mouldable Fabric Technology
Multiple Insert Tooling RTM
Metal Matrix Composite
The matrix is basically a homogeneous and monolithic material in which a fibre system is embedded thereby forming a composite. In FRP composites the matrices are polymers.
The moulds used for forming composites are key to the process. They are also known as tools and can be made from virtually any material ranging from composite to aluminium or steel.
To mould is to shape and form an object by the use of a mould.
An individual or company that manufactures polymer based parts via one or more moulding processes. The term moulder is often used interchangeably with the term fabricator.
A process that produces shaped parts through the use of a mould. The composites industry distinguishes between open mould processes and closed mould processes.
Multiaxial reinforcements are fabrics made up of multiple plies (layers) of parallel fibres, each laying in a different orientation or axis - hence the term ‘multiaxial’. These layers are typically stitch-bonded (usually with a polyester thread) to form a fabric. Multiaxial fabrics are sometimes called non-crimp fabrics. Multiaxial fabrics include unidirectional (UD), biaxial, triaxial and quadraxial products.
NCF (Non-Crimp Fabrics)
Non-Crimp Fabrics: see Multiaxial fabric.
NFC (Natural Fiber Composites)
Natural Fiber Composites
Natural technical fibres
In order to be able to use plant fibres at the industrial level (except in the specific case of cereal straw), it is necessary to extract them from the plant (through defibration) and to prepare them by giving them a shape that is suitable for the needs of specific applications. In this context, they are called natural technical fibres.
A textile structure produced by bonding or interlocking of fibres, or both, accomplished by mechanical, chemical, thermal or solvent means and combinations thereof.
Original Equipment Manufacturer: Producer or manufacturer of a complete end product (such as a car engine, cooling unit, or a circuit board) or a sub-assembly (such as a carburettor, compressor, or a chip) used in an end product.
Open moulding process
In open moulding, materials (resins and fibre reinforcements) are exposed to air as they cure or harden. Open moulding processes include hand lay-up, spray-up, casting, filament winding and pultrusion.
Polyacrylonitrile (precursor fibre)
Personal Protective Equipment
Parts per million
Phenolic resins are ideal for high temperature applications where parts must meet fire, smoke and toxic fume (FST) requirements. They have excellent flame retardance, heat and chemical resistance, and electrical non-conductivity characteristics.
Polyester resins are one of the most commonly used matrices in the polymer composites industry.
Fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) materials consisting of resins, fibre reinforcements and additives. They usually bring high mechanical properties and light weight to final applications.
A large molecule formed by combining smaller molecules or monomers in a regular pattern. Polymers are one of the most common matrices for composites. There are thermoplastic and thermoset polymers.
A pre-shaped three-dimensional agglomeration of fibres designed to fit neatly into a mould. Mainly used in the RTM process to save time in preparing the mould.
Reinforcement material that has been impregnated with the resin system in a previous process.
Pullwinding is a form of pultrusion in which the fibres are placed at various angles.
A continuous moulding process in which reinforcing fibres or fabric are impregnated with resin by passing through a resin bath and then pulled through a heated die to form a part that is basically a profile. The profile leaving the machine is cut to required lengths by an automated saw. Typical products are structural sections, cable trays, bars and tubes.
Residual Current Device
Resin Film Infusion
Resin Injection Molding
Reinforced Thermoplastic Laminate (process)
Resin transfer moulding: A closed moulding process in which dry fabric is laid into a two (or more) part mould which is then closed in a heated press. Resin is injected under pressure until the fabric is impregnated and the tool is heated to cure the resin.
The key element added to a matrix to provide the required properties of the resulting composite. Reinforcements are usually in the form of fibres which can be short, continuous or as some woven or nonwoven textile form.
A process by which vacuum draws resin into a dry fibre laminate in a one sided rigid mould, the other side being made by a plastic film with a seal between the two.
Sometimes used interchangeably with the word polymer. Thermoset and thermoplastic resins are used as matrices in FRP composites.
Seemann Composites Resin Infusion Molding Process
Sheet moulding compound : A semi-finished product used in compression moulding processes. SMC is composite sheet material made by sandwiching chopped fibres between two layers of thick resin paste. To form the sheet, the resin paste transfers from a metering device onto a moving film carrier.
Seamless Modelling Pastes
Structural Repair Manual
Short Thermoplastic (Fibre)
Woven or nonwoven structure in which the yarns are regularly and widely spaced.
An open moulding process where resin is fed through a tube and mixed with catalyst in a hand-held spray gun. The fibre (fed from a bobbin) is chopped into the resin stream as it is sprayed onto the mould. This is then left to cure at ambient temperature.
Thick Moulding Compound
Defined as the resistance to longitudinal stress or pull.
A thermoplastic polymer is moulded via the addition of heat and pressure to shape it via a mould. If the resulting part is heated it will re-melt which means that thermoplastics are easier to recycle than thermosets.
Polymers that turn into liquid when heated and become solid when cooled. They can be repeatedly melted and moulded which makes them very recyclable. Examples include polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polypropylene (PP), polycarbonate (PC), polyethylene (PE), polyether ether ketone (PEEK), and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS).
A thermoset polymer is one where during moulding the polymerisation reaction is irreversible. The resulting part will not respond to heat nor is there any other way to remould the part with those same raw materials.
Polymers that become irreversibly hardened upon being cured. Thermosetting resins are usually malleable or liquid prior to curing. Once hardened a thermoset resin cannot be re-melted in order to be reshaped. Examples include polyester, epoxy and vinyl ester resins.
Unsaturated Polyester Resin
Vacuum-Assisted Resin Transfer Molding
Virtual Engineered Composites
Volatile Organic Compound
Vaccum infusion (VI) process
Dry fabric plies are laid up into the mould and covered with a film, or vacuum bag, sealed at the edges. The fabric is compacted under vacuum pressure as resin is drawn through from a reservoir.
Vacuum bagging is a technique employed to create mechanical pressure on a laminate during its cure cycle.
A process that uses vacuum pressure to drive resin into a laminate. Materials are laid dry into the mould and the vacuum is applied before resin is introduced. Once a complete vacuum is achieved, resin is literally sucked into the laminate via carefully placed tubing.
Vinyl ester resins
Vinyl ester resins offer corrosion resistance and durability and are widely used in chemicals processing equipment, boat hulls and other demanding applications The handling characteristics, properties, and even price, of vinyl ester resins generally fall between those of polyester and epoxy resin.
Lengthwise strands or yarns in a weaving process of a fabric.
Strands or yarns that lie and are woven in the cross direction of a fabric.