Structural Materials2020-05-28T14:56:13-04:00

Composite Materials for Structural and Mechanical Applications

Lightweight, strong, stiff, corrosion resistant, with significant design flexibility 

Why consider composites as a structural material?

Thermoset composites are prized for their robust properties and design flexibility. From world class weight adjusted strength and stiffness to corrosion resistance, to toughness and fatigue resistance, composites have found use in the most demanding mechanical and structural applications under, on, and above the earth.

Your custom composite is within reach

There’s nothing exotic about custom materials. We develop them every day. Our chemists and engineers have produced hundreds of materials for thousands of applications—more than 200 grades. Our significant technical data and in-house testing capability is the starting point for your new application, accelerating the design process.

Destined for repeatable performance

When design engineers come to us for a material solution, they also get the manufacturing capability and capacity to deliver it.

From standard products to those that are uniquely produced for a single application, our structural composite materials are manufactured in accordance with ISO and PSM standards. Our production approach minimizes variation relative to other composite manufacturing techniques, resulting in materials that are produced economically in large volumes.

Want to learn more about composites for structural applications?

What is a composite?

Composite materials are made up of two or more different materials, referred to as the matrix and the reinforcement.

Each combination is chosen for its ability to deliver predictable and repeatable performance to match the application’s requirements. Since these materials have very different properties, the heterogeneity of composites must be addressed to support the analysis of composite parts and structures.

The matrix functions to bind the reinforcement together and protect it. A composite matrix will be one of three types: polymer, metal or ceramic.

Norplex-Micarta specializes in a subset of polymer matrix composites called thermosets. Thermosets undergo a high-temperature curing process by which the chemical structure of the polymer is irreversibly cross-linked. Therefore, thermosets do not melt after curing, as opposed to thermoplastic materials, which do melt.

The reinforcement is considered the primary contributor to the strength and stiffness of the composite. Potential reinforcements that can be effectively utilized are nearly infinite. Common reinforcement materials include paper, cotton fabrics, glass, aramids, nylon and carbon fiber. Other materials such as virgin PTFE or rubber can be incorporated into the composite to achieve specific design objectives.

Norplex-Micarta produces pre-preg from several different resin systems such as epoxy, phenolic, melamine, and silicone. These resin systems can be modified through the use of various additives to modify their behavior. These additives can make the material semi to fully conductive, increase the hardness, increase the toughness, or reduce the coefficient of friction, amongst other possible enhancements.

Reinforcements are virtually endless. From the choice of the fiber, to woven, non-woven, and stitched fabrics, and various hybridizations and combinations of the myriad of inputs, designers have a wide range of potential inputs that can be used to optimize a material for their specific application.

Learn more about Norplex-Micarta’s various products:

Want to learn more about specific application areas?

Corrosion and Chemical Resistance

Stable long term performance

Difficult Service Conditions

Compared with many other materials, thermoset composites outperform in harsh environments.


Advanced pre-preg and shapes

Minimum Mass

Various reinforcements such as carbon, glass, and aramids that can be used alone or in hybrid systems to create new materials that are predictable, reliable, and repeatable.


-196 C and below

Extreme Cold

Glass-epoxy and cotton-phenolic sheets stock shapes that have proven themselves through years of service in demanding environments.

Bearing and Wear

Self lubricating, long running


Utilizing well known resin systems with new and innovative reinforcements to optimize the bulk and triboligical properties of composites for demanding bearing and wear applications.

Have another idea or a question about Norplex-Micarta and our approach to composites? Speak with one of our applications engineers to discuss how Norplex-Micarta’s thermoset composites can be designed your specific application.