Date of Graduation
Glass fiber reinforced plastics (GFRPs) are beginning to be used as structural materials in construction. However, their mechanical properties can degrade after prolonged exposure to the environment. Understanding this degradation was the focus of this research. Epoxy neat resin and glass/epoxy composite samples were soaked in four different solutions (distilled water, saturated salt solution, 5 M NaOH, and 1 M HCl solution) for 5 months. The samples were also subjected to a combination of temperature and sustained load at room temperature and at 60Â°C. The glass transition temperature (Tg), storage modulus, tensile strength, and strain at failure were measured. The fracture surface of samples used in the tensile test were examined using a SEM. Results showed that immersion in aging media lowers Tg and enhances apparent phase separation in the samples due to polymer plasticization. At the elevated temperature, the Tg and the stiffness increased owing to continued resin curing. Sustained load, at the level used, had little effect on the mechanical behavior of the aged samples. At room temperature, water had the greatest influence in reducing the stiffness of epoxy neat resin samples. Combined effect of elevated temperature and sustained load caused an increase in Tg and a gain in stiffness in both epoxy neat resin and composite samples. This result is attributed more to the effect of temperature rather than to the effect of sustained load. At room temperature, glass/epoxy composite samples soaked in acid solution showed the highest reduction in tensile strength; this failure was the result of fiber damage. Other composite samples soaked in water and alkali were found to fail by adhesive failure mode. At 60Â°C, alkali was found to be the most damaging solution to glass/epoxy composite samples in terms of tensile strength. Here the composite samples failed under fiber failure mode while the composite samples soaked in water and acid solution failed under adhesive failure mode. Among the four aging solutions, salt solution was the least harmful to the strength of the materials. The composite samples soaked in salt solution failed under cohesive failure mode irrespective of aging temperature.
Kajorncheappunngam, Somjai, "The effects of environmental aging on the durability of glass/epoxy composites." (1999). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 9140.