Effects of water ageing on the mechanical properties of flax and glass fibre composites: Degradation and reversibility

Abstract : Mechanical properties of flax-fibre reinforced composites (FFRC) are strongly affected by water ageing compared to glass-fibre reinforced composites (GFRC). This study highlights the influence of water absorption during immersion at 30°C on mechanical properties of unsaturated polyester reinforced composites. Flax-fibre composites showed a Fickian absorption behaviour and a water uptake 15 times higher than that of glass-fibre composites. GFRC's tensile modulus and maximum stress were slightly affected by water uptake while FFRC's tensile modulus decreased by 37%, and ultimate stress increased by 34%. A silane-based chemical treatment (1% compared to flax fibres) was applied onto flax fibres. Water uptake was slightly reduced by 9% while tensile modulus at saturation was enhanced by 22% on treated FFRC compared to untreated ones. Moreover, the complete recovery of the tensile modulus after desiccation suggests that ageing was mainly reversible: fibre and matrix plasticizing phenomena occurred during immersion at 30°C. No damage was noticed but composites' initial properties changed with the action of water: further crosslinking of matrix and release of fi-bre's extractibles into water were observed. Finally, the drying conditions influenced the return to the initial state before ageing insofar the flax fibres partially lost their initial humidity.
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Guilherme Apolinario, Patrick Ienny, Stéphane Corn, Romain Léger, Anne Bergeret, et al.. Effects of water ageing on the mechanical properties of flax and glass fibre composites: Degradation and reversibility. ICNF 2015 - 2nd International Conference on Natural Fibers, Apr 2015, Sao Miguel, Portugal. ⟨hal-01255205⟩

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