The general public, and those that should know better such as engineers and designers, tend to have two perceptions of composites: either as fibre-glass - a rather second-rate material used to make kit cars; or as an esoteric carbon fibre based material used only in fighters and stealth bombers. Both perceptions are wrong. The reality is that nearly 5 million tonnes of thermoset composites were used world- wide in 1997 in applications as diverse as bridges, boats, cars and windmills representing a global business worth some $120 billion.

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DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(99)80012-1