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In this activity, students will make a container using a composite material made from fabric strips (the reinforcement) and a flour and water paste (the matrix). They will choose a function that they’d like their container to perform (for example, can hold water, can be used to grow a plant, can be composted, can hold a tealight candle). The finished container is then used to compare the properties of the composite material to the properties of the individual materials.

By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

  • explain that a composite material is made out of two materials with different properties
  • discuss the roles of the two key components of a composite – the matrix and the reinforcement
  • discuss how the composite material has new and different properties when compared to the properties of the individual materials
  • discuss how the choice of materials in the design of any product will affect how well the product functions/performs.

Download the Word file (see link below) for:

  • introduction/background notes
  • what you need
  • what to do
  • student handout
  • discussion questions
  • extension.
    Published 14 May 2013 Referencing Hub articles