Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 30, Issue 21, pp 5537–5542 | Cite as

The effect of the moisture absorption on the interfacial strength of polymeric matrix composites

  • W. L. Bradley
  • T. S. Grant


Seven composite material systems have been studied to determine their potential suitability for structural applications for continuous immersion in sea water. The matrices of these composites have been found to absorb moisture with saturation occurring at 0.6%–2% of the matrix weight of additional moisture over approximately 1% present after fabrication, when soaked at ambient temperature in simulated sea water, with 20.7 MPa (3000 p.s.i.) hydrostatic pressure giving a very minor increase in moisture absorption. Pure water absorption gave a slightly higher saturation level than did simulated sea water. With the exception of the graphite/vinylester composites, the degradation in transverse tensile strength and interfacial shear strength due to moisture absorption has been found to vary from 0%–22%, with the thermoset/graphite systems and the vinylester/glass systems both showing sufficient promise to justify further study. The observed correlation in the decrease in interfacial shear strength due to moisture absorption with decreases in transverse tensile strength supports the hypothesis that the moisture-induced degradation is associated with a decrease in the interfacial strength rather than the degradation of matrix mechanical properties. In situ fracture observations in the scanning electron microscope further support this hypothesis.


Tensile Strength Shear Strength Hydrostatic Pressure Matrix Composite Moisture Absorption 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    P. J. C. Tamarelle and C. P. Sparks, in “Proceedings of Nineteenth Annual Offshore Technology Conference”, Houston, Texas, May 1987 (Richardson Texas: Offshore Technology Conference) p. 255.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    G. S. Springer (ed.), in “Environmental Effects on Composite Materials”, Vol. I (Technomic, Westport, CT, 1981) p. 1.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    C. E. Browning, in “Proceedings of the 1978 International Conference on Composite Materials: ICCM-2”, Toronto, Canada, April 1978, edited by B. R. Noton (Metallurgical Society of AIME, Warrendale, PA) p. 1527.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    G. Menges and H. W. Gitshner, in “Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Composite Materials, ICCM-3”, Paris, August 1980, edited by A. R. Bunsell (Pergamon Press, New York) p. 597.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    T. K. Tsotsis, PhD dissertation, Texas A and M University (1989).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    A. C. Loos and G. S. Springer, “Environmental Effects on Composite Materials”, Vol. 1, edited by G. S. Springer (Technomic, Westport, CT, 1981) p. 34.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    C. Schutte, W. McDonough, M. Shioya, M. McAuliffe and M. C Greenwood, Composites (special issue dedicated to the papers presented at the Interfacial Phenomena in Composite Materials '93, 13–15 September (1994) in press.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    T. K. O'Brien, I. S. Raju and D. P. Garber, NASA TM-86437, Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA (1985).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    B. J. Dewimille, R. Thoris and A. R. Bunsell, in “Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Composite Materials, ICCM-3”, Paris, August 1980, edited by A. R. Bunsell (Pergamon Press, New York) p. 689.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    M. R. Piggott and P. S. Chua, Proceedings of ASME Pressure Vessel and Piping Conference, Honolulu, July 1989 (American Society of Mechanical Engineers, New York) p. 143.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    S. K. Rege and S. C. Lakkad, Fibre Sci. Technol. 19 (1983) 317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    H. P. Abeysinghe, W. Edwards, G. Pritchard and G. J. Swampillai, Polymer 23 (1982) 1785.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    A. C. Garg, Eng. Fract. Mech. 29 (1988) 127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    T. Jaska, “Effect of Water Immersion on Fiber/Matrix Adhesion”, Report CARDEROCKDIV-SME-92/38, Naval Surface Warfare Center (1993).Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    F. Pomies and L. A. Carlsson, J. Compos. Mater. 28 (1994).Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    G. M. Newaz, “Influence of Voids on Environmental Degradation of Epoxy Resins”, NATEC '83: Discovering New Frontiers Through Imagination (1983) p. 124.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    J. F. Mandell, J. H. Chen and F. J. McGarry, Int. J. Adhes. Adhes. 1 (1980) 40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    M. Narkis, E. J. H. Chen and R. B. Pipes, Polym. Compos. 9 (1988) 245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    T. S. Grant and W. L. Bradley, J. Compos., submitted.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Chapman & Hall 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. L. Bradley
    • 1
  • T. S. Grant
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringTexas A & M UniversityCollege Statial
  2. 2.Southwest Research InstituteSan Antonio

Personalised recommendations