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|Because composites offer new solutions to materials problems, they are currently the focus of intense research and development worldwide. However, the natural tendency of users is to remain with tried materials in every situation of material selection. This approach ignores the tremendous advances that have been made in composite materials and their application. These advances enable engineers to tailor composites to suit specific applications such as the demanding needs of mining and industry in South Africa. However, the application of composites, where new and improved components and products are needed or are being developed is often hampered by the limited knowledge and experience of the engineers concerned. This paper presents some of the basic information needed for an appreciation of the terminology, definitions, and properties of various types of composites. It also reviews recent developments in manufacturing technology and product development that may find application in local industries and mining.|