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JOURNAL OF MATERIALS SCIENCE 17 ( 1 9 8 2 ) 1427-1433

The effect of boiling water on dynamic
mechanical properties of composites
J O H N G. W I L L I A M S
Aeronautical Research Laboratories, Defence Science and Technology Organisation,
Fishermen's Bend, Victoria 3207, Australia

The dynamic mechanical properties of an amine-cured epoxy resin, filled with a range of
fillers including glass, carbon, aramid fibres and glass beads, have been determined on a
torsion pendulum. The effects of fibre content, orientation and surface treatment on the
beta-relaxation near -- 50 ~ C at 1 Hz have been studied. For carbon and aramid fibre-filled
systems, the maximum value of the loss factor appears to be proportional to the volume-
fraction of resin present; however, for glass-filled systems, the observed loss is slightly
larger than expected. This difference is not dependent on surface treatment. Composite
samples were exposed to boiling water and the dynamic properties determi ned after
periods of immersion of up to 500 h. The change in loss properties may be explained in
terms of the formation of a new loss peak near -- 30 ~ C. The rate of formation of this loss
peak is increased with increasing fibre content and is dependent on the fibre present. It is
suggested that this may be caused by the formation of a distinguishable species at the
fibre-resin interface formed during the degraditive process. The original dynamic proper-
ties of all the systems were recovered on drying the specimens. When systems containing
cleaned glass beads are exposed to boiling water, more complex changes are observed. A
peak near -- 8 ~ C appears initially, but this appears to change to a peak near -- 30 ~ C,
similar to that observed for fibre-filled systems on prolonged exposure.

1. Introduction The height of this loss peak is proportional to
Many studies of the dynamic mechanical properties the concentration of glyceryl units derived f r o m
of amine-cured epoxy resins have been reported the resin but is not related to glyceryl units from
[ 1 - 7 ] . A relaxation has been observed near monofunctional glycidyl diluents [3-5]. It may
-- 50 ~ C at 1 Hz and this is usually referred to as also contain a relaxation related to the diphenyl-
the beta relaxation [1]. It has been shown that propane nucleus in the resin [3].
this relaxation is related to the presence of the Other factors which affect the peak-height and
glyceryl unit formed by reaction of the glycidyl position include absorption of water [6,7],
unit of the resin with amine [2] : mechanical fatigue [8], and thermal degradation
[9]. Studies on the absorption of water by resins
0 and derived composites have shown that, as wa}er
J \ + is absorbed, the relaxation appears to increase in
R-OCHzCH CHz H N R z -+
magnitude and the transition temperature appears
OH to increase [10, 11 ]. For systems containing clean
I glass beads, a new relaxation appears near - - 8 ~
R-OCHzCH-CHz- NRz, (1)
which has been associated with free water in the
glyceryl unit
system [11]. Systems containing silane-treated
glass beads do not show the appearance of this
where R is the non-reacting portion of the relaxation. This paper extends these studies to
molecule. fibre-filled systems.
0022-2461/82/051461-07~03.34/0 9 C h a p m a n a n d IIall Ltd. 1427
2. Experimental procedure cured for 20h at 60 ~ C and postcured for 200 min
The resin used in this study was the purified di- at 150 ~ C. Filament-wound samples, which were
glycidyl ether of 2,2-bis(4'-hydroxyphenyl-)- not protected externally by a layer of teflon, were
propane supplied as "Epon" x22 by Shell Chemical postcured under nitrogen to reduce oxidative
(Aust.) Pry Ltd. The curing agent, 1,3-diamino- degradation.
propane, was laboratory grade material supplied The water-filled sample contained 81wt%
by Koch-Light Laboratories Ltd and was redistilled resin, 11 wt% amine and 8wt% liquid water. The
before use (b.p. 138 to 140 ~ C). resultant creamy emulsion was cast normally and
The glass fibre used was continuous E-glass cured for 20h at 60 ~ C, but was not postcured. As
roving (K filament, 20 end)* and was coated with the amine is partially soluble in water, a 25%
a proprietory, epoxy-compatible, silane size. This excess was added to ensure adequate cure was
is referred to as treated glass. Some fibre was obtained.
washed repeatedly with chromic acid solution in Specimens, as tested, were approximately
concentrated sulphuric acid to remove all size and 120mm long and rods were 5ram in diameter;
subsequently washed with water and acetone and tubes were 5 mm internal diameter and approxi-
dried at 150 ~ C and stored over silica gel. This is mately 7 mm in outside diameter. All samples for
referred to as cleaned glass. dynamic testing were fitted with aluminium end-
Carbon fibre used was supplied as Type II, pieces.
treated fibret and aramid fibre was supplied as Samples with glass-fibre reinforcement were
PRD49 Type III, 20 end continuous roving ~. prepared with fibre volume-fractions between 0.19
Soda-glass beads w were sieved to a size range of and 0.34 with axial orientation and between 0.53
105 to 210/,tm and cleaned with the chromic acid and 0.61 with circumferential orientation. Aramid-
solution, as described for the glass fibre. fibre and carbon-fibre reinforced samples were pre-
Some samples were prepared from unfilled pared with fibre volume-fractions between 0.24
resin, and from resin containing liquid water or and 0.48 with axial orientation only. The single
glass beads. Fibre-reinforced samples were pre- glass-bead-filled sample had a bead-volume ratio
pared from cleaned and treated glass in axial and of 0.35.
circumferential orientations and from carbon and Dynamic mechanical properties were deter-
aramid fibres in axial orientation only. mined using an inverted, free-oscillation torsion
All samples except the water-filled matrix were pendulum. The accuracy of this instrument has
prepared by premelting the resin and adding a been discussed [12]. The frequency of oscillation
stoichiometric quantity of amine (9.8 wt%). Un- was adjusted to remain in the range 0.8 to 1.2 Hz
filled and bead-filled systems were cast vertically and the temperature range studied was from
in teflon-lined copper tubes. Beads were allowed - - 1 5 0 ~ to the glass transition temperature for
to settle during cure and the test specimens were dry samples or from - - 1 5 0 ~ to room tempera-
cut from the bottom of the cured rod, where the ture for samples exposed to water.
glass content was highest. Samples with axially- Specimens with fitted end-pieces were exposed
oriented fibres were prepared by looping an to water by immersion in distilled water main-
appropriate weight of fibre over a wire, wetting tained at a temperature of 98 to 100 ~ C. Samples
thoroughly in a premixed resin bath and pulling were removed periodically, the end-pieces cleaned
the doubled fibre hank into a teflon-lined copper of corrosion products, the samples dried with
tube. For circumferentially aligned fibre-filled tissue paper and the dynamic properties deter-
samples, a filament winding technique was used: mined. They were then returned to the same water
the continuous fibre was passed through a resin bath.
bath and wound onto a tefion-coated rod. A total Fibre contents of the axially-aligned fibre-filled
of two layers of glass were applied at a helix angle systems were calculated from the weight per unit
of + 70 ~ length of the fibre hank used to prepare the
All systems except the water-filled matrix were sample and the calculated volume of the specimen,
*Glass Fibre supplied by Australian Fibre Glass Pry Ltd.
tCarbon fibre supplied by Morganite Modmor Ltd.
SAramid fibre supplied by E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. Inc.
wSoda-glassbeads supplied by Catasphere Bead Co.

assuming the density values o f the fibres reported 0.08
in the literature. The fibre contents o f glass-filled
systems were checked b y ignition and found to be
in agreement with the calculated values. Glass
contents of bead-filled and filament-wound samples
were also determined by ignition.
"E 0.06
Microscopic examination of cross-sections o f ~_
samples suggested that void contents were low
and fibre distribution was consistent between o 00t~
types o f fibre.
To determine the rate of absorption o f water,
rods 10 to 3 0 m m in length were dried for 2 h at
150 ~ C and weighed. After immersion for a known 0.02
period in boiling water, superficial water was
removed using absorbent paper and the samples
were reweighed.
-100 -50 0
3. Results Temperature (~
The beta-relaxation in fibre-filled systems is
similar to that in the unfilled matrix. The loss Figure 2 The loss tangent in the region of the beta-
relaxation for the system containing axial, treated glass-
peak is unchanged in position, but depressed in
fibre (VR = 0.73) after exposure to boiling water for the
magnitude. Fig. 1 shows the dependence of peak indicated periods. The circled points were obtained after
height on the volume-fraction of resin present, Vg. drying following exposure. In this, and successive figures,
The beta-peak for the water-filled sample a few typical, experimental points are shown to indicate
occurred at - - 5 5 ~ at a loss tangent of 0.0805. scatter. Normally the loss tangent was determined every
No sign of any peak near -- 30 or -- 8 ~ C could be 5~ C.
Exposure o f unfilled matrix to boiling water
for prolonged periods has little observable effect
0.08 on the beta-peak. The maximum value o f the loss
tangent decreases from a value of 0.0725 to 0.070
after exposure for 3500h.
Results of exposure of composite samples are
illustrated in Figs 2 to 6. These show a series o f
plots of the loss tangent against temperature after
successive exposures to water, and after eventual
o.0~ drying under dry nitrogen at 150~ for 2 h for
some typical systems.
For samples filled with glass, treated with a
silane finish, exposure to boiling water leads to an
increase in the maximum loss tangent and a shift
of the maximum to higher temperatures, as shown
in Fig. 2. For cleaned glass, these changes occur
I 1 more rapidly and to greater extent, and a peak
O.t~ o.g
Resin Volume-Fraction appears near - - 2 0 ~ C, as shown in Fig. 3. The
Figure 1 The maximum value of the loss tangent near results from filament-wound glass systems are
--50~ for filled systems as a function of the resin not singificantly different from those from
volume-fraction, zx cleaned glass fibre, axial orientation; axially-aligned glass fibres; both cleaned and
9 treated glass fibre, axial orientation; o cleaned glass treated cases. The filament-wound specimens,
fibre, circumferential orientation; 9 treated glass fibre,
however, become very fragile, especially those
circumferential orientation; D aramid fibre, axial orien-
tation; 9 carbon fibre, axial orientation; • bead- based on cleaned glass, and sample failure occurs
filled system. during dynamic testing after 30 to 100 h. Exposure

! 0.08
l 1~494 h -~ O.O6
0.08 ~ + 96h
/ o.o+

~176176 F-
I | o,o


0.021 o- \
Figure 5 As for Fig. 2 for the system based on axial
aramid-fibre (VR = 0.66).
/L cleaned glass beads over a similar period to the
I I I above exposure is illustrated in Fig. 6.
- 100 - 50 0
Temperature(~ W a t e r absorption rates are very similar in all
systems when calculated on the basis o f per cent
Figure 3 As for Fig. 2 for the system based on axial, change in weight o f the matrix resin, as has been
cleaned glass-fibre ( VR = 0.73).
reported for systems filled with glass beads [11].
o f axially-aligned carbon fibre composites (Fig. 4) After 1 0 0 h exposure, a weight increase of 3 to
results in peak changes similar to those for treated 4% was observed. The absorption rate slowly
glass-based samples, whereas results for axially- decreased and at 3 0 0 h a total weight increase o f
aligned aramid based samples (Fig. 5) are similar 5 to 6% was observed.
to those for cleaned glass-based samples.
The effect o f exposure o f composites based on 0.10
96 27 h

0,081 0.08
J .606h
0.06I- ~150 h
w I ~ 296 h ~ 0.06

~ O.Ot+ \ ./48h .

0.021 "/ 0.02 -

/ I I I i I i
- 100 "50 0 -100 -50 0
Temperature (~ Temperature(~C)
Figure 4 As for Fig. 2 for the system based on axial, Figure 6 As for Fig. 2 for the system based on glass beads
carbon-fibre (VR = 0.66). (VR = 0.51).

4. Discussion ture. This is associated with an increase in the
4.1. Fibre content and orientation temperature of maximum loss and in some cases
The fibre content of the specimens appears to a new peak near - - 3 0 ~ is resolved. In order to
affect the maximum value of the loss tangent but describe these changes quantitatively, attempts
not the temperature at which the maximum were made to resolve the observed curves. It was
occurs. The accuracy of determination of this assumed that an anomalous loss was occurring at
temperature is poor, however. Over the range of all temperatures, independently of the background
fibre contents studied, the maximum value of the loss of the bulk resin matrix. A rough estimate of
loss tangent is approximately proportional to the this loss was obtained by use of the relationship:
volume-fraction of resin present. The law of
mixtures would suggest such a linear relationship (tan G)x, t, T = (tan G)obs' t, T - - VR (tan ~)matrix, t, T,
passing through a loss tangent of zero at zero
volume-fraction of resin if the fibres do not
contribute to the energy loss. This condition where the loss tangents, tan 6, for the systems are
appears to hold for systems containing carbon and distinguished by subscripts x for the armmalous
aramid fibres, but both cleaned and treated glass loss, obs for the observed loss in the fiil6d system
systems show a positive deviation: This effect and matrix for the unfilled system. The subscript
could be associated with the high polarity of the t refers tO the time of exposure of the composite
glass surface but it is of interest to note that it is or the unfilled matrix to water and the subscript T
not affected significantly by the silane treatment refers to the temperature at which the losses were
or the cleaning process. determined. VR is the volume-fraction of resin in
The heights of the beta:peak for filament- the composite specimen.
wound samples are less reliable than for axially- This relationship implies several assumptions.
oriented samples as the outer surface is much less First, is that the loss tangent is proportional to
regular due to the winding process, and the resin VR at all temperatures. It was shown above that
content varies significantly through the specimen. the maximum loss tangent is proportional to VR
and the curves are of similar shape. Second, is that
4.2. T h e e f f e c t o f boiling w a t e r the rate of absorption of water is independent of
on c o m p o s i t e s the presence of the fibre. This was checked exper-
On exposure to boiling water, the loss peak imentally and found to be a reasonable approxi-
increases in height and moves to a higher tempera- mation. Third, is that the possible slight effect of
ture. This effect is small in the unf'dled samples, the interaction between glass and matrix on the
even after very long exposures. In the case o f loss tangent could be neglected.
treated glass and carbon-fibre filled systems, Fig. 7 shows the curves obtained for the re-
prolonged exposure causes a shift in the peak to solved, anomalous loss as a function of temper-
between - - 2 0 ~ C and - - 3 0 ~ but the rate of ature for the system based on cleaned glass fibre at
increase of height decreases. This may be associated a resin volume-fraction of 0.73, on exposure to
with the decrease in the rate of absorption of boiling water. A consistent description of these
water. For systems based on aramid or cleaned- curves and all others obtained is that they show
glass fibres, the peak moves rapidly to - - 3 0 ~
and increases in height dramatically, although 0.0/,
water absorption rates are very similar to other ~U 294 h
fibre-filled specimens. Bead-filled samples showed ==
the formation of the peak near -- 8 ~ C, as reported
0.02 96h
earlier. On longer exposure, this system showed ~
the formation of a peak near - - 3 0 ~ C, while the
peak near -- 8 ~ C could no longer be detected.
All samples recovered their original loss proper-
-100 -50 O
ties on drying by heating to 150 ~ C for 1 to 2 h. Temperature (o C)
In general, all loss curves for exposed, filled
Figure 7 Resolved loss peak for the system based on
samples show a higher loss compared to those for cleaned glass-fibre (V R = 0.73) after exposure to boiling
exposed, unfilled samples of the same tempera- water for t h e indicated period.

001 / 00
., 0.02 9
/ / i 0.01

el F/ ' _.....o
-i " ~~a'='='~'-
= . . . . . . o 100 200 300
Time of Boil (h)
Figure 9 As for Fig. 8. o carbon fibre, VR = 0.74;a carbon
fibre, VR = 0.64; ~, carbon fibre, VR = 0.54; 9 aramid
100 200 ]00 fibre, VR = 0.64; 9 aramid fibre, VR = 0.52.
Time of Boil (h)
Figure 8 The height of the resolved loss-peak as a function systems based on cleaned glass or aramid fibre
of period of exposure to boiling water. All samples have
axial orientation. 9 treated glass, VR = 0.77; o cleaned and least for systems based on treated glass.
glass, VR = 0.77; 9 treated glass, VR = 0.73; a cleaned
glass, VR = 0.73; 9 treated glass, VR = 0.66; z~ cleaned
glass, VR = 0.66. 5. C o n c l u s i o n s
The effects of fibrous fillers o n the beta-relaxation
in an amine-cured epoxy resin have been examined.
the gradual formation of a peak between - - 3 0 The peak in loss properties at i Hz occurs near
and -- 40 ~ C. -- 50 ~ C and this position is independent of the
Figs 8 and 9 show the variation in height for filler. The height is proportional to the resin-
the resolved loss-peak as a function of exposure fraction in the sample. On exposure to boiling
time for the systems studied. While there is con- water the peak appears to increase in height and
siderable scatter in the data, the height of the loss shift to higher temperatures. This observation is
peak after a fixed exposure period increases with best explained by the formation of a new relax-
increasing fibre content. As has been shown earlier ation giving a loss peak near - - 3 0 ~ C. This loss
[ 11 ] and confirmed in the present work, the rate mechanism may be related to reversibly degraded
of absorption of moisture is the same for all matrix in the interracial region of the composite.
systems when compared on the basis of the
percentage change in weight of the matrix resin. References
There is no suggestion that the rate of water 1. D.H. KAELBLE, S.P.E.]. 15 (1959) 1071.
absorption is increased by increase in fibre con- 2. F . R . DAMMONT and T. K. KWEI, J. Polymer Sc~
tent. As the resolved loss appears at approximately 5 (1967) 761.
3. J . G . WILLIAMS, J. App. Polymer Sci. 23 (1979)
the same temperature for all systems, it is probably 3433.
not associated specifically with the fibre. 4. O. DELATYCKI, J. C. SHAW and J. G. WILLIAMS,
A possible mechanism for causing the resolved Z Polymer Sci. 7 (1969) 753.
loss-peak, which is consistent with these obser- 5. E . F . CUDDIHY and J. MOACANIN, jr. Polymer Sci.
vations, would involve the molecular species at 8 (1970) 1627.
6. D.E. KLINE and J. A. SAUER, SPE Trans. (1962)
the fibre-resin interface. Perhaps, the moisture 21.
absorbed at the fibre, surface modifies the polar 7. G . A . POGANY, P o l y m e r 11 (1970) 66.
glyceryl entities in the surrounding resin sufficiently 8. M. SCHRAGER, J. PolymerSci. 8 (1970) 1999.
to create a distinguishable loss process. The ease of 9. J . c . PATTERSON-JONES and D . A . SMITH, J.
formation of this modified species is greatest for App. PolymerSci. 12 (1968) 1601.

10. J.A. MANSON and E. H. CHIU, A.C.S. Polymer Oscillation Torsion Pendulum", MRL Report number
Preprints 14 (1973) 469. 647 (1976).
WILLIAMS, or. Polymer Sci. Polymer Phys. Ed. 12
(1974) 1555. Received 7 September
12. J. G. WILLIAMS, "The Sources of Error in a Free and accepted 9 October 1981