13

Polymers for aerospace structures

13.1 Introduction

Polymer is a generic term that covers a wide variety and large number of plastics, elastomers and adhesives. The three main groups of polymers are called thermoplastics, thermosetting polymers (or thermosets) and elastomers. The term ‘plastic’ is often used to describe both thermoplastics and thermosets, although there are important differences between the two. Elastomers are commonly called ‘rubbers’, although in the aerospace engineering community the former term is the correct one to use. Adhesives are an important sub-group of polymers, and can be thermoplastic, thermoset or elastomer.

The basic chemical properties used to distinguish between thermoplastics, thermosets and elastomers ...

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