Composite Materials

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Resources include the Composite Materials merit badge worksheet in PDF format Adobe Acrobat PDF and Word format Microsoft Word DOC document, links, and cross-references to related badges and awards.
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Composite Materials merit badge
Status: Elective
Created: 2006 (premiered at the
2005 National Scout Jamboree)
Discontinued: no
BSA Advancement ID: 137
Requirements revision: 2014
Latest pamphlet revision: 2012


Composites can be found just about everywhere: in airplanes and sports cars, golf clubs and guitars, boats and baseball bats, bathtubs and circuit boards, and even bridges. Composites make bicycles and skis lighter, kayaks and canoes stronger, houses warmer, and helmets tougher.

Composite Materials merit badge requirements

  1. Do the following:
    a. Explain to your counselor the most likely hazards you may encounter while working with composite materials and what you should do to anticipate, mitigate and prevent, and respond to these hazards. Describe the appropriate safety gear and clothing that should be used when working with composite materials.
    b. Explain the precautions that must be taken when handling, storing, and disposing of resins, reinforcements, and other materials used in composites. Include in your discussion the importance of health, safety, and environmental responsibility and awareness.
    c. Describe what a material safety data sheet (MSDS) is and tell why it is used.
  2. Do the following:
    a. Explain what are composite materials. Include a brief history of composites and how they have developed.
    b. Compare the similarities and differences between composites and wood, aluminum, copper, and steel. Describe the physical, electrical, mechanical, corrosive, flammability, cost, and other such properties. For each of these raw materials, give one example of how it can be shaped and used for a specific application.
  3. Describe how composite materials are made. Then do the following:
    a. Discuss three different composite reinforcement materials, their positive and negative characteristics, and their uses. Obtain the MSDS for each one and discuss the toxicity, disposal, and safe-handling sections for these materials.
    b. Discuss three different resins used in composites, their positive and negative characteristics, and their uses. Obtain the MSDS for each one and discuss the toxicity, disposal, and safe-handling sections for these materials. Include thermoset resins and thermoplastic resins in your discussion.
    c. For each of the three resins you chose for requirement 3b, think of a new application that might be worth developing.
  4. With your parent's permission and your counselor's approval do ONE of the following:
    a. Visit a company that manufactures or repairs products made with composites. Discuss what you learn with your counselor.
    b. Find three composites-related Web sites. Share and discuss what you learn with your counselor.
  5. Do the following:
    a. Use composite materials to complete two projects, at least one of which must come from the Composite Materials merit badge pamphlet. The second project may come from the pamphlet OR may be one you select on your own that has been approved by your counselor in advance.
    b. With your counselor's assistance, find an appropriate site where the projects can be safely completed under your counselor's supervision and/or the supervision of an adult approved by your counselor who is knowledgeable about composites.
    c. With your counselor, determine how the finished projects will be evaluated. Using those guidelines, evaluate the completed projects with your counselor.
  6. Find out about three career opportunities in composite materials. Pick one and find out the education, training, and experience required for this profession. Discuss this with your counselor, and explain why this profession might interest you.

The official source for the information shown in this is:
Boy Scout Requirements, 2018 Edition (BSA Supply SKU #641568)

View the change list (history) of these requirements. The text of these requirements may be locked. In that case, they can only be edited
by an administrator.
Please note any errors found in the above requirements on this article's Talk Page.


Worksheet A FREE workbook for Composite Materials is available here! (PDF or Word) with the maps, charts, links, diagrams, and checklists you need! Or click here to print just the Composite Materials requirements. has PDF and Word versions of workbooks for Scouts BSA ranks and merit badges, Cub Scouting ranks and adventures, and STEM Nova awards.

Composite Materials merit badge requires prior counselor and/or parent approval for requirement(s) #4, 5a, 5b.
The Composite Materials merit badge is an option for the Whoosh!, Next Big Thing, Harris Bronze Supernova, and Edison Silver Supernova STEM Nova Awards.
  1. This merit badge was first shown at the 2005 National Scout Jamboree.

Requirement resources

1a. Safety & Health: OSHA Health and Safety - Composites
1b. Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) List
2a. What are composites? - Wikipedia: Composite Materials
2b. Benefits of composites - Composites products examples by market - Composite Material Key Concepts
3. Overview of composites manufacturing processes
3. Overview of composite materials - SME Society of Manufacturing Engineers Composites
4. Resource of companies who make composites
5. Project ideas

Group Projects
  • Surf board
  • Canoe or kayak
  • Troop box
  • Totem poles
  • Snow shoes
  • Lightweight troop/patrol kitchen
  • Troop trailers
  • Klondike derby sled
  • Snow boards
  • Camp signage
Individual Projects
  • Skate board
  • Skim board
  • Walking sticks
  • Car or Boat Repair
  • Tool Handle Repair
  • Window flower box
  • Camp fire bucket
  • Small toy boat
  • Modified pinewood derby cars

6. Careers in the Composites Industry

Related awards

Science-related awards

See also

Scouts BSA portal
Venturing portal
Sea Scout portal
General Merit Badge information

External links

Personal tools