Polymers and Composite Materials


Engineering Studies – H3 Aeronautical Engineering – Materials and Manufacturing

This topic covers the types and applications of thermosetting polymers used in aeronautical applications. Methods of shaping the polymers and combining polymers with a matrix are key concepts of this topic.

Key Concepts

  • Thermosetting polymer definition and description
  • Types of reinforced glass fibre, Kevlar, carbon fibre and Fibre Metal Laminate (FML) as used in aircraft construction
  • Shaping methods
  • Applications for thermosetting polymers

Discussion Questions


  1. Describe the structure of a thermosetting polymer.
  2. Compare the structure of thermosoftening and thermosetting polymer.
  3. Discuss these methods of shaping/forming thermosetting polymer:
    1. Compression moulding
    2. Hand lay-up
    3. Vacuum lay-up
  4. Name 3 thermosetting polymers and an application where they are commonly used.


  1. Name reasons why fibre-reinforced polymer (FRP) is a common composite material.
  2. Name various fibre types used for reinforcement in thermosetting polymer applications.
  3. Describe one Fibre Metal Laminate (FML) used in aeronautics.
  4. Describe the macrostructure of Kevlar and discuss the material properties.

Composite World Website – USA


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