Of all materials, a great deal of hope is being pinned on fiber-reinforced plastics, which offer a compelling mix of stability, low weight and huge design latitude. They therefore have the ideal properties for automotive and aircraft makers. Their special properties are more than just the sum of their two parts, however. Fiber-reinforced plastics are much more stable than the combination of the stability conferred by pure fiber and plastic encasement would lead one to expect. In the direction of the fiber, they are especially rugged because the fibers are firmly embedded in the structure by the surrounding plastic matrix. This high stability is the reason that fiber-reinforced plastics find application in Formula 1 racing, the aviation industry and the rotors of wind turbines. Not only that, but they are relatively easy to process, which is why small runs needed for these applications can be made economically.
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