The **key difference between matrix and dispersed phase in composites** is that the matrix phase is a continuous phase, whereas the dispersed phase is a discontinuous phase in composites.

A composite is manufactured by combining two or more materials, producing a combination of structural properties not present in individual components. Generally, a composite material is formed with a continuous phase and a discontinuous phase. The continuous phase is the major component of a composite material and fill up the space inside the composite material. It contains the material that make up the matrix of the material, hence, the name matrix phase. The discontinuous phase, on the other hand, is the material that is included inside the matrix of the material and has several components embedded inside the continuous phase. It is not continuous as the components are not connected to each other as in continuous phase.

Typically, the matrix phase or continuous phase is surrounded by the dispersed phase or discontinuous phase. The matrix phase in composites is the continuous body constituent that tends to enclose the composite and gives the bulk form to the composite material. The dispersed phase in composites is the discontinuous phase of the composite material that determines the internal structure.

### CONTENTS

1. Overview and Key Difference

2. What is Matrix Phase in Composites

3. What is Dispersed Phase in Composites

4. Matrix vs Dispersed Phase in Composites in Tabular Form

5. Summary – Matrix vs Dispersed Phase in Composites

## What is Matrix Phase in Composites?

The matrix phase in composites is the continuous body constituent that tends to enclose the composite and gives the bulk form to the composite material. This phase can be a polymer, metal, or ceramic material. Basically, the matrix is a homogenous and monolithic material in which we can observe a fiber system of a composite that is embedded. This phase is completely continuous, and it provides a medium for binding and holding reinforcements together to form the solid material.

The above image shows the classification of composites. These different composites consist of different reinforcement materials which are dispersed in the matrix phase.

## What is the Dispersed Phase in Composites?

The dispersed phase in composites is the discontinuous phase of the composite material that determines the internal structure. We can call this phase the phase that is dispersed in colloidal particle shape. Moreover, the medium in which the colloidal particles are distributed is known as the medium of dispersion.

Typically, the dispersed phase is also known as the reinforcing phase, and it is held together by the matrix phase. The dispersed phase improves the overall properties of the matrix. It is strong if the reinforcement provides a low density.

## What is the Difference Between Matrix and Dispersed Phase in Composites?

A composite material is made of two phases: the matrix phase and the dispersed phase. The dispersed phase is held together by the matrix phase. The dispersed phase tends to improve the overall properties of the matrix. The key difference between matrix and dispersed phase in composites is that the matrix phase is a continuous phase, whereas the dispersed phase is a discontinuous phase in composites. Moreover, the matrix phase acts as the binder to hold together the dispersed material, while the dispersed phase acts as the distributed material to give the bulk or reinforcement.

The below infographic presents the differences between matrix and dispersed phase in composites in tabular form for side by side comparison.

## Summary – Matrix vs Dispersed Phase in Composites

The matrix phase in composites is the continuous body constituent that tends to enclose the composite and give the bulk form to the composite material. The dispersed phase in composites is the discontinuous phase of the composite material, which determines the internal structure. Therefore, the key difference between matrix and dispersed phase in composites is that the matrix phase is a continuous phase, whereas the dispersed phase is a discontinuous phase in composites.

##### Reference:

1. “Emulsion.” *An Overview | ScienceDirect Topics*.

2. Lichtarowicz, Marek. “*Composites*.” *The Essential Chemical Industry.*

##### Image Courtesy:

1. “Composites Materials” By Kokcharov – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia

2. “Fiber-reinforced composites tipology” By Daniele Pugliesi – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia

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