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Composite Materials - Car Tyres

Composites are usually formed to create new materials with enhanced physical, mechanical or working properties. For example they may be formed to create light, strong materials (good strength to weight ratio) or materials that are both shock and temperature resistant.

Many composites are made up of just two materials. One material called the matrix or binder surrounds and binds together a cluster of fibres of a much stronger material called the reinforcement. In the case of mud bricks the mud became the matrix and the straw became the reinforcement.

Tyres are good example of composite materials. Modern tyres are constructed of layers, which may include rayon cloth, steel bands and nylon belts all set in a matrix (binder) of rubber

The first pneumatic tyre was invented by a Scots veterinary surgeon called John Boyd Dunlop in 1888. Working in Belfast, he made an air-tube from three layers of sheet rubber and canvas. This was then fitted to a wooden disc 18 inches (46.6 centimetres) in diameter. Dunlop tested and compared his tyre to the solid rubber tyre from his son Johnny's tricycle by rolling them across his business yard. The tricycle wheel wobbled, falling short while, the Dunlop disc went the full distance of the yard and rebounded off the wall.

Mud Bricks
Car Tyres
Composite Materials