Moisture uptake characteristics of a pultruded fibre reinforced polymer flat sheet subjected to hot/wet aging

S. A. Grammatikos, B. Zafari, M. C. Evernden, J. T. Mottram, J. M. Mitchels

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This paper studies the moisture uptake characteristics of a pultruded E-glass fibre reinforced (isophthalic polyester) polymer after long-term exposure to hot/wet conditions. Both fully exposed samples of varying aspect ratios and selectively exposed samples were immersed in distilled water at 25 °C, 40 °C, 60 °C and 80 °C for a period of 224 days. For the fully exposed condition, bulk and directional diffusion coefficient values were determined. A three-dimensional approach using Fickian theory was applied to approximate the principal direction diffusions at 60 °C by using mass changes from samples having different aspect ratios. This revealed that the diffusion coefficient in the longitudinal (pultrusion) direction to be an order of magnitude higher than in the transverse and through-thickness principal directions. Diffusion coefficients in the three principal directions have also been determined for the selectively exposed condition at 60 °C through the application of one-dimensional Fickian theory. It was found that the size and shape of the samples influences moisture uptake characteristics, and thereby the values determined for bulk and directional diffusion coefficients. Furthermore, the influence of exposure temperature on moisture uptake and mass loss with time was examined. Investigation of the water medium by means of electrical measurements suggested that decomposition of the polymeric composite initiates very early, even after the very first day of immersion. Comparison between the infrared signatures from the pultruded material and the water's residual substances revealed significant decomposition, and this behaviour is verified by Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Energy Dispersive Spectroscopic (EDS) analysis as well as the recorded mass loss after 224 days of aging.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407–419
Number of pages13
JournalPolymer Degradation and Stability
Early online date22 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015


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