Composite materials are made up of two or more materials and have properties that are significantly different from the constituent parts.
Such materials already have a wide range of uses, particularly in structural and engineering capacities, because they are both strong and lightweight compared to traditional materials. Car manufacturing, aviation and aerospace industries, medical implants and environmental technology are some areas in which composites have found a use. Most notably, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner was the first commercial airplane to be built with composites as the primary material, affording a lighter weight aircraft than conventional materials, while retaining strength.
Advances in nanomaterial, nanoparticle and graphene research are now bringing an added potential dimension to the benefits of composite materials — namely, making them functional. Functional materials are a broad class of materials generally characterized as having particular native properties — e.g., electrical or magnetic properties or potential for energy storage — that allow their use in range of functions and technologies.
These properties present exciting potential uses for functional composites that stretch beyond their structural role. For example, the wing of an aircraft made with functional composites could provide constant feedback about the structural integrity of the wing and the effect of any environmental factors. Similarly, composite coatings on bridges will feed back about structural wear and tear. And in a car, a chassis made from composites could potentially harvest energy wasted as heat or from vibrational energy.
With wide-ranging possible applications for functional composites, and with researchers starting to move into this field, we are delighted to present Functional Composite Materials, a brand new fully open access that focuses on this important new generation of materials.
Helmed by Editor-in-Chief Tony McNally (University of Warwick, UK), the Editorial Board is made up of highly renowned scientists working in the field of composites across the globe. Sitting at the intersection of physics, chemistry, materials science and engineering, we welcome contributions on all types of composite materials — the only caveat is that composite functionality must be clearly demonstrated.
Functional Composite Materials is now accepting submissions. Be sure to check out the website, and stay tuned for the first articles publishing later this year: https://functionalcompositematerials.springeropen.com/