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Solid material that results when two or more substances are combined (physically, not chemically) to create a new material whose properties are superior in a specific application to those of the original substances. The term specifically refers to a structural matrix (such as plastic) within which a fibrous material (such as silicon carbide) is embedded. Fibreglass-reinforced plastic is the best-known composite. Because of their stiffness, lightness, and heat resistance, composites are the materials of choice in numerous structural, reinforcing, and high-performance applications.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on composite material, visit Britannica.com.
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