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  1. Charles W. Paul,
  2. Igor Palley

Published Online: 20 JUL 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118097298.weoc033

Wiley Encyclopedia of Composites

Wiley Encyclopedia of Composites

How to Cite

Paul, C. W. and Palley, I. 2012. Characterization . Wiley Encyclopedia of Composites. 1–19.

Author Information

  1. National Starch and Chemical Co., New Jersey

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 20 JUL 2012


This article offers an overview of the characterization of composites, the techniques use, and their limitations. In particular, morphological and mechanical characterization are discussed. The first can be studied on three levels: macroscopic, microscopic, and atomic/molecular. These three levels of characterizations and the techniques used for their observations are discussed in the first part of the article.

In the second part, experimental methods for characterizing the mechanical properties of engineering materials are discussed. These methods can be generally classified as those based on measuring the response to mechanical probing (traditional mechanical testing) and nonmechanical probing, which is also known as nondestructive evaluation. Various aspects of mechanical probing methods, such as the loading rate, the type of loading, and the stress state are presented. Moreover, relevant properties for composites such as thermal, electrical, and electromagnetic properties are presented.


  • characterization;
  • morphology;
  • mathematical modeling;
  • crack propagation;
  • nondestructive evaluation