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What is Composite?

A material made up from two or more different substances with varying physical properties

Human have been creating composites for thousands of years! A composite material is one made up from two or more different substances with varying physical properties. By combining different materials, it is possible to take advantage of features from each, creating stronger materials with better endurance against weathering, fire resistance, or heightened insulative properties. The combination of the base materials elevates them to something more than they were apart, creating a brand-new material with the ideal properties for its purpose. Whether you need a stronger material, something lighter, or something easier to mould and shape, a composite material can deliver the bespoke properties required for a particular job.

But composite doesn’t always refer to a blending of two different materials into one new material. Sometimes, in certain industries and environments, a composite refers to two objects of different materials being used in conjunction with one another for a singular purpose. In deep foundation piling, for example, a composite pile is one created from two different piles of differing materials, driven one over the top of the other in order for them to function as a single pile. A common type of composite pile is a timber pile capped with a concrete pile. This provides stability at greater depths than cast in-situ concrete piles and also protects the timber from air and groundwater near the surface that could cause erosion.

However, newer developments in piling have seen attempts at constructing piles entirely from composite materials, such as fibre reinforced polymers (FRP), which have seen great early success rates for their corrosion resistance and strength. For composite decking, cladding, and fencing, we use a composite material known as wooden polymer composite (WPC).

Composites come in a variety of different forms, but always involve taking the properties of more than one material and combining them to take advantage of the best features of each. FRP composites are better suited for construction industries like piling as the main requirements are core tensile strength and longevity. But WPC composites have the benefits of not producing carcinogenic chemicals during production, having an eco-friendly composition, and greater customisation for aesthetics, which make them far better for cladding your home or decking your garden!