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Optical Properties of Polymer Composites

  1. Paul Calvert

Published Online: 20 JUL 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118097298.weoc164

Wiley Encyclopedia of Composites

Wiley Encyclopedia of Composites

How to Cite

Calvert, P. 2012. Optical Properties of Polymer Composites . Wiley Encyclopedia of Composites. 1–15.

Author Information

  1. University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 20 JUL 2012


Some composites are mainly used for their particular properties such as electrical, magnetic, and optical properties. This article covers the current and prospective applications of polymer composites as optical materials. In particular, the first section of this article discusses optical properties of polymers in comparison with glasses. In this first part, a greater attention is given to scattering phenomena because the main limitation regarding optical uses of any composite structure is the high degree of scattering that is expected when ever materials of different refractive indices are mixed. As is shown in this article, this scattering can be controlled in various ways.

The second section deals with particular examples of optical properties of polymers, including optical methods of damage detection in composite materials and composites where “active” fillers embedded in polymers confer particular properties for switching or otherwise modifying light transmission.


  • polymer composites;
  • refractive index;
  • scattering;
  • nonlinear optics;
  • polyethylene