Fiber reinforced polymer composites are highly susceptible to environmental conditions despite their favorable properties. Among various environmental factors, moisture absorption is known to have significant adverse effects on such materials. This work investigates the effects of accelerated moisture absorption on the mechanical properties of resin transfer molded glass/epoxy composites. 152.4 mm diameter disk-shaped parts are fabricated using EPON 815C resin and EPICURE 3282 curing agent. Reinforcement is provided by four layers of randomly oriented planar glass fiber preforms with 0.459 kg/m2 surface density, yielding approximately 21.2% fiber volume fraction. Samples cut from the molded disks are immersed into boiling water for accelerated aging. The masses of the specimens are measured at periodic intervals to quantity the amount of water absorbed. Tensile and short beam shear tests are performed at different levels of moisture absorption. Mechanical properties are found to decrease as moisture diffused into the material. Fiber pullouts on the surfaces of tested samples show fiber loosening as the cause of material weakening. To investigate the desorption and characteristics, part of the samples are dried at 65°C after the maximum moisture absorption is reached. Total stiffness recovery is observed after desorption but ultimate tensile strenth only recovered by 27.7%, which is 33.4% lower than the initial value.

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