Long-Term Hydrolytic Degradation of the Sizing-Rich Composite Interphase
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionCoatings. 2019, 9 (4), . 10.3390/coatings9040263
Glass fiber-reinforced composites are exposed to hydrolytic degradation in subsea and offshore applications. Fiber-matrix interphase degradation was observed after the matrix was fully saturated with water and typical water absorption tests according to ASTM D5229 were stopped. Due to water-induced dissolution, fiber-matrix interphase flaws were formed, which then lead to increased water uptake. Cutting sample plates from a larger laminate, where the fibers were running parallel to the 1.5 mm long short edge, allowed the hydrolytic degradation process to be studied. The analysis is based on a full mechanistic mass balance approach considering all the composite’s constituents: water uptake and leaching of the matrix, dissolution of the glass fibers, and dissolution of the composite interphase. These processes were modeled using a combination of Fickian diffusion and zero-order kinetics. For the composite laminate studied here with a saturated epoxy matrix, the fiber matrix interphase is predicted to be fully degraded after 22 to 30 years.