Composite materials are made from two or more basic material. They are not just placed together. They are merged together. This create a material with useful properties unlike the individual elements.
The composite material as a whole may behave differently from either of its parts. For example, reinforced concrete (made of concrete and steel) has resistance to pressure and to bending forces. Bullet-proof glass (made of glass and plastic) is far more resistant to impact than either glass or plastic on their own.
Concrete itself is a composite material. It is one of the oldest man-made composites, used more than any other man-made material in the world.
Wood is a natural composite of cellulose fibres in a matrix of lignin. The earliest man-made composite materials were straw and mud combined to form bricks for building construction. This ancient brick-making process was documented by Egyptian tomb paintings. It is still used today in some places.
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- The old brick-making process can still be seen on Egyptian tomb paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art..
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