In accordance with the present invention, structural and other composite materials have been developed which have superior performance properties, including high compressive strength, high tensile strength, high shear strength, and high strength-to-weight ratio, and methods for preparing same. Invention materials have the added benefits of ease of manufacture, and are inexpensive to manufacture. The superior performance properties of invention materials render such materials suitable for a wide variety of end uses. For example, a variety of substances can be applied to invention materials without melting, dissolving or degrading the basic structure thereof. This facilitates bonding invention materials to virtually any surface or substrate. Moreover, the bond between invention materials and a variety of substrates is exceptionally strong, rendering the resulting bonded article suitable for use in a variety of demanding applications. Invention materials can be manufactured in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, densities, in multiple layers, and the like; and the performance properties thereof can be evaluated in a variety of ways.