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Effect of moisture and

temperature on composite
materials
What do we mean by composite material?

A composite material is a material made from two or more


constituent materials with significantly different physical or
chemical properties that, when combined, produce a material with
characteristics different from the individual components.
Composites are one of the important
The importance materials which are used for an
in composite aircraft construction. They are used
because of their light weight and high
materials. strength-to-weight ratio.
Environmental effects on composite
materials
Composites are affected by thermal, moisture, fatigue, creep, and aging (service
life). Environmental effects on composite materials have to be considered in the early
stages of design, or the design iterations and failure will cause a waste of time,
energy and money. Usually the degree of sensitivity of composites to individual
environmental factors is quite different. For wind turbine blade design, temperature
and moisture are the most important environmental degradation factors taken into
consideration. the effects of these two environmental factors will be specified
separately. However, it has been shown that their combination has more aggressive
effects on the properties of composites than each alone. The primary environmental
effects are on the matrix phase and possibly the interface, while the fibers are
usually relatively insensitive in the range of conditioning for polymer matrix
composites. In fact, a primary role of the matrix is to protect the fibers from chemical
environments.
Environmental effects on composite materials
Temperature
Often the most severe environmental effect. it affects the entire service life of the composite.
Moisture
Composites absorb moisture through the matrix, the fiber, the fiber-matrix interface, and porous regions or area where
microcracking or delamination have occurred
A sample is submerged in water at a particular temperature and the amount of water absorbed is measured for several days and
weeks until saturation.
Moisture degrades the mechanical properties of polymer materials.
Rule of thumb is to have a maximum of 3% moisture for a polymer material
Materials that absorb more then that should NOT be selected for applications that are exposed to a wet environment (contact
with water for long periods of time), but can be used in applications with short exposure to moisture.
Fibers do not absorb water (except for aramid Kevlar 49 fiber)
Coefficients of Moisture Expansion

When a body absorbs water, as is the case for resins in polymeric


matrix composites, it expands. The change in dimensions of the
body are measured by the coefficient of moisture expansion
defined as the change in the linear dimension of a body per unit
length per unit change in weight of moisture content per unit
weight of the body. Similar to the coefficients of thermal
expansion, there are two coefficients of moisture expansion, one
in the longitudinal direction and the other in the transverse
direction.
Coefficients of Thermal Expansion

When a body undergoes a temperature change, its


dimensions relative to its original dimensions change in
proportion to the temperature change. The coefficient of
thermal expansion is defined as the change in the linear
dimension of a body per unit length per unit change of
temperature, there are two coefficients of thermal
expansion, one in the longitudinal direction and the other in
the transverse direction.
Effect of temperature on the mechanical
properties of polymer mortars(PM)
PM is a composite material in which polymeric materials are used to bond
the aggregates similar to that used in the preparation of cement concrete.
For this purpose, specimens were prepared for flexural and compressive
tests, respectively, at different temperatures.
Measurements of the temperature-dependent elastic modulus and the
compressive and flexural strength were conducted using a thermostatic
chamber attached to a universal test machine for a range of temperatures
varying from room temperature to 90 ºC.
The flexural and compressive strength decreases as temperature
increases.
Effect of temperature on the mechanical
properties of polymer mortars
Polymeric composite materials are some of the youngest building materials, and they
are continually appearing with new and optimized properties as new combinations
and formulations are developed. Regardless of their significant advantages in
comparison with conventional construction materials, the mechanical properties of
polymer composites are highly susceptible to the type of resin and reinforcement (or
aggregate) employed, as well as to the quantity of both components.
However, the main problem with polymeric materials arises from the viscoelastic
properties of the polymer, which result in creep and a high sensitivity to temperature.
The effects of temperature on the mechanical properties of polymers change
considerably, especially within the heat distortion temperature range. The heat
distortion takes place over a wide temperature range that, for many resins used in civil
engineering, lies between 20 and 80 ºC. This means that during the service lifetime of
the material, glass transition can occur.
Effects of Extreme Low Temperature on
Composite Materials
Composite materials are ideal for structural applications
where high strength to weight and stiffness to weight ratios
are required. Aircraft and spacecraft are typical weight
sensitive structures in which composite materials are cost
effective. In NASA’s re-entry vehicles composites will be used
for fuel tanks, which should maintain integrity at
temperatures (below -150ºC).
Long-Term Environmental Effects

other environmental factors such as corrosive atmospheres and


temperatures and humidity variations have over the long term on
composites These elements may lessen the adhesion of the fiber-
matrix interface, such as between glass and epoxy. Epoxy matrices
soften at high temperatures, affecting properties dominated by the
matrix, such as transverse and in-plane shear stiffness and strength,
and flexural strength for example a glass/epoxy composite rod
absorbed as much as 0.4% of water over 150 days of immersion.
The effect of this moisture absorption on flexural modulus is shown
in Figure 5.5.
Carbon fiber reinforced plastic

Products made of composite materials are widely used in state of the art
technology. In some areas, they operate at a variable ambient temperature. Both
the temperature gradient and high or low temperatures cause thermal stresses.
Thermal stresses are caused not only by the uneven temperature field in structural
elements but also by the anisotropy of properties, the change in the coefficients of
thermal expansion depending on the direction. In some cases, the following
requirements are imposed upon the products: thermal stability (minimum
temperature induced deformations), high specific strength, and high stiffness.
Carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) is a promising material for manufacturing
such products. Their structure (as well as other reinforced materials) is nonuniform,
which may lead to fracture along the interface between fiber and matrix, as well as
fibers. Additionally, properties of the material may vary (as a rule, properties of the
matrix and interface) with time.
Effects of Moisture and Temperature on the
Tensile Strength of Composite Materials
The mechanical properties of composite materials may suffer when the
material is exposed to high temperature, high humidity environments.
Therefore, in order to utilize the full potential of composite materials, their
performance at elevated temperatures and at high moisture contents must be
known. The objective of this investigation was to evaluate the changes in the
ultimate tensile strengths of composite materials exposed to air in which the
relative humidity varied from 0 to 100 percent and the temperature ranged
from 200 K to 450 K.
The changes in the ultimate tensile strengths were assessed by performing
tensile tests on Thornel 300/Fiberite 1034 graphite epoxy composites
Effects of Moisture and Temperature on the
Tensile Strength of Composite Materials
Temperature Effects
1- For 0° and 45° laminates changes in temperature in the range 200 K to 380
K appear to have negligible effects on the ultimate tensile strength, regardless
of the moisture content of the material. There may be a slight decrease in
strength (<20%) as the temperature increases from 380 K to 450 K.
2- For 90° laminates the increase in temperature from 200 K to 450 K causes a
significant decrease in the ultimate tensile strength. The decrease depends
both upon the temperature and the moisture content and may be as high as
60 to 90 percent.
Effects of Moisture and Temperature on the
Tensile Strength of Composite Materials
Moisture Effects
1-For 0° and 45° laminates the moisture content of the composite material has only a
small effect on the ultimate tensile strength. At moisture contents (weight gain) below
1%, the effects of moisture seem to be negligible. At moisture contents above 1% the
tensile strength appears to decrease with increasing moisture content. The maximum
decrease in the ultimate tensile strength is about 20%.This reduction in strength seems
to be insensitive to the temperature of the material.
2- For 90° laminates the moisture content affects significantly the ultimate tensile
strength. The reduction in strength depends both on the moisture content and on the
temperature. The reduction in strength may be as high as 60% to 90%.
Long term effects of moisture on carbon fibre
and epoxy matrix composites
The aim of this work is to investigate the long term effects of moisture on the interface between a carbon
fibre and an epoxy matrix. High modulus carbon fibres were used to prepare single fibre model composites
based on an epoxy resin. The samples were immersed in the seawater and demineralised water and
their moisture uptake behaviour was monitored. The equilibrium moisture content and diffusion coefficients
for the samples were determined. DSC has been used to analyse the moisture effects on glass transition
temperature and thermal stability of the pure epoxy specimens. These results showed a reduction
in the glass transition temperature (Tg) after moisture absorption. Tensile tests were also carried out for
the epoxy specimens and a general decrease in the mechanical properties of the epoxy matrix was
observed. Raman spectroscopy was used to observe the effects of moisture on the axial strain of the carbon
fibre within the composite and stress transfer at the interface as a function of exposure time. The
results show that the decrease in the mechanical and interfacial properties of the model composites
under the seawater immersion is more significant than under demineralised water immersion.
Effect of moisture absorption on the mechanical
behaviour of carbon fiber/epoxy matrix composites

A carbon fiber/epoxy unidirectional laminated composite was exposed to


a humid environment and the effect of moisture absorption on the
mechanical properties and failure modes was investigated. The
composites were exposed to three humidity conditions, namely, 25, 55,
and 95 % at a constant temperature of 25 C. The carbon fiber– epoxy
laminated composites for two different carbon fiber surface treatments
were used. The results showed that the mechanical properties differ
considerably for each fiber surface treatment. The application of a
coupling agent enhanced the fiber-matrix adhesion and reduced
dependence of the properties on humidity.
Effect of moisture absorption on the mechanical
behaviour of carbon fiber/epoxy matrix composites

The carbon fiber reinforced epoxy (CFRE) in the form of laminated


composites is widely used in structural applications because of their
excellent performance characteristics through their design life. A critical
aspect of using epoxy matrix in composites materials is their
performance in moisture environments. It is well-known that the
moisture has significant effects on their physical and chemical properties
of epoxy matrix as well as on their final performance of composite
structures especially in their long-term utilization. The absorbed water
usually depresses the glass-transition temperature Tg by plasticizing the
polymer network and also affects mechanical performance and long-
term durability of high performance composites.
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