The development of composite materials has advanced tremendously since the days when artisans hand-forged high- and low-carbon irons or steels to make a lighter, tougher samurai sword. Today's advanced composites are manufactured in a variety of ways to produce stronger, lighter-weight, and more heat-resistant substances than the metals they replace.

Composed of thread-like fibers of graphite, boron, or aramid embedded in a matrix of resin, metal, or other material, advanced composites have hundreds of applications, some of which include providing structural support for aircraft engines, missiles, rocket motor cases, prosthetic devices, tennis rackets, and even musical instruments.

Monitoring the hardening, or curing, of these composites is important to creating a product of optimal strength, quality, and consistency. For materials scientists developing these composites, a new instrument has been designed to measure the real-time chemical changes occurring in resins during the cure - the Eumetric System III Dielectrometer from Micromet Instruments...

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