Divided we fall, united we rise. That saying is perhaps a bit cliché but when it comes to material sciences, it often proves true. Many material science companies now focus on composites, which are materials made with at least two “united” substances with differing characteristics. And among the most advanced composites are braided composites.
Composites, in general, are very important for modern science and industry. Often, scientists can improve strength or reduce weight, or both by making composite materials. When materials are mixed, it’s sometimes possible to hone and improve the strengths of the different materials while also reducing or eliminating their weakness.
Some researchers and companies are taking composites even further, using specialized braids containing numerous strains of fibers (with many of the fibers themselves being composites). Braiding strains tends to improve strength, and if desired, braids can often be made to be very flexible.
Go back a few hundred years and material sciences often involved choosing between different attributes. You might want something strong, for example, but strength often came at the expense of flexibility.
With modern composites, and especially braided composites, you can craft flexible, light materials that are also incredibly strong. These days, you’ll find braided composites being used alongside heavy machineries, such as construction equipment. You might also find such composites used in aircraft engines to strengthen and secure other materials
Heck, you might even find braided composites in sports equipment, like protective gear. In such applications, braided composites are popular because they’re light and flexible. This is great for athletes because they won’t be weighed down and can still move easily. These composites also dissipate energy.
In sum total, braided composites are increasing safety and leading to improvements elsewhere as well. And as researchers continue their work, composites will likely only improve.