Polymers are not normally considered to be high mechanical performance materials, having relatively low strength and stiffness properties. Their reinforcement with very high strength and stiffness fibers, particularly boron and graphite, has created a whole new class of materials, however. Some of the unique aspects of utilizing these composites are presented, including both analytical and experimental considerations. Current hardware applications are reviewed, indicating the rapidly increasing interest in this area. And finally, probable future developments are discussed, including the likely range of applications of polymer matrix composites and possible competition from other material systems. 18 pp. Refs. (Author)
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