Abstract

Composite materials are being used in many industrial applications such as automobile, aerospace, marine, oil and gas industries due to their high strength to weight ratio. The long-term effect of sustained loads and environmental factors that include exposure to UV light, temperature, and moisture have been under investigation by many researchers. The major objective of this study is to evaluate the effects of harsh environment (e.g. seawater and high temperature) on the structural properties of E-glass epoxy composite materials. These effects were studied in terms of seawater absorption, permeation of salt and contaminants, chemical and physical bonds at the interface and degradation in mechanical properties. Samples were immersed in seawater at room temperature (23°C), 65°C and 90°C for the duration of 6 months. Results show that seawater absorption increased with immersion time at 23°C and 65°C, whereas the weight of the specimens decreased at 90°C. The moisture causes swelling at 23°C and 65°C and breakdown of chemical bonds between fiber and matrix at 90°C. It is observed that high temperature accelerates the degradation of the E-glass epoxy composite. At 90°C, the tensile strength of E-glass epoxy sharply decreased by 72.92% but no significant change was observed in modulus of elasticity of the composite.

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