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Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, Dr.Ambedkar Institute of Technology, Bangalore-56, India
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University Visweswaraya College of Engineering, Bangalore, India

Abstract- The solid particle erosion behavior of unidirectional basalt and glass fiber reinforced epoxy composites has been
characterized. The erosive wear of these composites have been evaluated at different impingement angles (30-90) and at
three different impact velocities (23, 40, and 61 m/s). The particles used for the erosion measurements were steel balls with
diameter of 300-500 mm. The basalt and glass fiber reinforced epoxy composites showed semi ductile erosion behavior, with
maximum erosion rate at 60 impingement. As Compared to glass-epoxy composite, the basalt-epoxy composite shows good
erosion resistance. The morphology of eroded surfaces was examined by using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Possible
erosion mechanisms are discussed.

Keywords- Basalt Fiber; Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM); Solid Particle Erosion; Wear Mechanisms.

I. INTRODUCTION inexpensive, and has excellent properties such as

corrosion resistance, minimal moisture absorption
Natural fibers have received great interest as and the ability to withstand high temperatures,
reinforcing material for polymer-based composite provide thermal insulation, and absorb sound. Basalt
because of the environmental issues in combination fiber is also a cost-effective and high-strength material
with their low cost and some intrinsic interesting that has been widely used in road construction,
properties (density, shape ratio, mechanical behavior). buildings and other applications that require
Many types of natural fibers like sisal, kenaf, hem, reinforcement. In general, the positive features of this
flax, coconut and banana have been studied and new generation of basalt fibers include sound
applied. However, vegetal fibers are very sensitive to insulation properties, excellent heat resistance (better
thermal and hygroscopic load and show limited than glass), good resistance to chemical attack and
mechanical properties due to the fiber extraction low water absorption. Bin Wei et. al mentioned that
system, the difficulty in fiber arrangement, the fiber the interfacial property of basalt fiber-reinforced
dimension and the interface strength. There are epoxy composite is better than glass fiber-reinforced
situations where these composites may encounter epoxy composite even after sea water treatment.
impacts as well as abrasions from dust, sand, splinters Visualizing the importance of polymer composites, lot
of materials, and slurry of solid particles and of work has been done by various researchers. To
consequently the material fails due to erosive wear. evaluate the erosive wear resistance of polymers and
Examples of such applications are helicopter rotor their composites is therefore of substantial interest.
blade, pump impeller blade, aircraft engine blade, From literature survey, it is evident that very little
pipeline carrying slurries and structural components work has been reported on solid particle erosion
operating in the desert environment. A wide variety of studies of epoxy and their composites. The objective of
methods were adopted to protect materials from the the present investigation was to study the solid particle
nuisance of wear, including use of efficient materials, erosion characteristics of basalt and glass fiber
processing techniques and surface treatment of the reinforced epoxy composites under various
exposed components. The characteristic restrictions of experimental condition. Hence the present work
glass fibers such as bio-degradability, specific focuses on the comparison of erosive wear behavior of
durability, and low wear resistance paves way for BE and GE composite.
finding an alternate material for developing wear
resistance polymers. Least attention has been devoted II. EXPERIMENTAL DETAILS
to the carbon fibers in tribological and mass
applications due to its high cost. One possibility for A. Materials
improving the mechanical properties is basalt fiber Basalt woven fabric 360 g/m2 obtained from M/s. APS
(BF). BF is colloquially known as the 21st-century Austria. The basalt fabric diameters 18 m was used
nonpolluting green material. Basalt fiber is a new as reinforcement. A bidirectional E-Glass woven
type of fiber prepared by drawing a natural ore, melted fabric 360 g/m2 was procured from M/s. Reva
at a high temperature, through a platinum-rhodium Composites, Bangalore, India. Multifunctional
alloy. It has numerous raw material sources, is epoxy-Bisphenol A-epichlorohydrin (MY 740) and
Proceedings of 09th IRF International Conference, 27th July-2014, Bengaluru, India, ISBN: 978-93-84209-40-7
Solid Particle Erosion of Basalt Fiber and Glass Fiber-Epoxy Composite

cyclo aliphaticamine (HY 951) (room temperature calculated. The experimental details are presented in
cure system) were obtained from M/s. S& S table 1.
POLYMERS, Bangalore, India. The resin is a clear
liquid, its viscosity at 25C is 1100 mPas and density III. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
is 1.15-1.20 g/cc. The hardener is a liquid and its
viscosity is 5080 mPa s and specific gravity is 1.59. The plot of Erosive wear rate as a function of
impingement angle of G-E and B-E composites at 23,
B. Fabrication of Composite Specimen 40, and 61 m/s are shown in Figs. 1(a), 1(b) and 1(c)
When The composite fabrication consists of mixing a respectively. Fig 1(d) shows the variation of erosion
known quantity of filler with epoxy resin using a high rate at 600 impingement angle for the three different
speed mechanical stirrer to ensure the proper velocities. The angle of impingement is usually
dispersion of filler in the epoxy resin. The hardener defined as the angle between the eroded surface and
was mixed into the filled epoxy resin using a the trajectory of the particle immediately before
mechanical stirrer. The ratio of epoxy resin to impact. The most important factors influencing the
hardener was 100:40 on weight basis and the epoxy erosion rate of materials are the impact angle, impact
resin was manually applied onto the glass fabric and velocity, the size, shape and hardness of eroding
the resultant composites were fabricated using the particles. In the erosion study, weight loss was
VARTM process. The composites were cured at room measured as a function of impingement angle. Ductile
temperature under a pressure of 14 psi for 24 hrs and it and brittle materials have shown significant difference
is post cured up to 3 hrs at 100C. The glass/basalt in their response.
Fiber to Epoxy ratio was 60:40. The Glass- Epoxy and
Basalt-Epoxy composites were designated as GE and The behavior of ductile materials is characterized by
B-E respectively .The laminate of dimensions 300 mm maximum erosion at low impingement angles
X 300 mm X 2.8 0.2 mm was fabricated and the (15-30). On the other hand, brittle materials show
specimens for the required dimensions were cut using maximum erosion under normal Impingement angle
a diamond tipped cutter. Density of the composites (90). Unlike the above two categories, the Reinforced
specimens was determined using a high precision composites are known to exhibit a semi ductile
digital electronic weighing balance of 0.1 mg accuracy behavior with maximum erosion occurring in the
by using Archimedes principle. range of 45-60. A possible reason for the erosion
behavior in the present study is that the glass and
C. Testing basalt fibers used as reinforcement for epoxy matrix
The solid particle erosion experiments were carried are typically brittle materials, so that erosion is mainly
out as per ASTM-G76 standard on the erosion test rig. caused by damage mechanisms such as
It consists of air compressor, air drying unit, particle micro-cracking or plastic deformation due to the
feeder, an air particle mixing and accelerating impact of silica particle. Such damage is supposed to
chamber. Dry compressed air is mixed with the increase with the increase of kinetic energy loss.
particles, which are fed at a constant rate from a According to Hutchings, kinetic energy loss is
conveyor belt type feeder in the mixing chamber and maximum at an impingement angle of 90, where
then accelerated by passing the mixture through a erosion rates are maximum for brittle materials. In the
converging nozzle of 3 mm diameter. The velocity of present investigation, the peak erosion rate shifts to a
the eroding particles is determined using a rotating larger value of impingement angle due to the brittle
disc method. In the present study, silica sand was used nature of carbon and glass fibers. It can be seen that
as an erodent. Square samples of size 50 mm X 50 mm the weight loss was maximum at 60 impingement
with 3.0 mm of thickness were utilized for erosion angle for both materials. This is semi ductile erosion
tests. Erosion wear was measured by the weight loss. behavior. The erosion curves are similar for both G-E
The normalized erosion rate (Ws) was expressed in and B-E composite.
terms of Equation (1):
The lowest Erosion rate of gm/gm 0.4x10-3 and 0.487
Ws = Wc / WEr (1) x10-3 gm/gm was observed at 20 m/s for 30
impingment angle for B-E and G-E respectively and
where, Wc is the loss in weight of the composite the highest wear volume loss of 5.01 x10-3 gm/gm was
material and WEr is the total weight of erodent (silica observed at 600 for 61 m/s velocity of the particle for
sand) used for erosion of each specimen. Wc is GE composite. As compared to G-E composites, the
determined by weighing the sample before and after B-E composite shows good erosive wear resistance.
the erosive wear test using a digital electronic balance This may be due to the interface between matrix
with 0.1 mg accuracy. Each of the erosive wear tests material and glass fiber that would be mechanically
were performed twice and average wear values were week.

Proceedings of 09th IRF International Conference, 27th July-2014, Bengaluru, India, ISBN: 978-93-84209-40-7
Solid Particle Erosion of Basalt Fiber and Glass Fiber-Epoxy Composite

Proceedings of 09th IRF International Conference, 27th July-2014, Bengaluru, India, ISBN: 978-93-84209-40-7
Solid Particle Erosion of Basalt Fiber and Glass Fiber-Epoxy Composite

The worn surface features of the composites were involving matrix micro cracking, fiber matrix
examined using a scanning electron microscope de-bonding, fiber breakage and material removal. At
(SEM). SEM approach is an effective approach to initial stage of erosion, there is a local removal of
probe the wear mechanism of the composites. matrix material from the impacted surface, which
results in exposure of fibres to the erosive
The SEM features of the worn surfaces of B-E and GE environment, which is due to continuous repeated
composite samples for 60 impingement angle at impact of solid particles on the surface of the specimen
lower and higher velocity are shown in Figs. 2 and 3. and there is damage to the interface between fibers and
Erosion of thermo-set composites is a complex process matrix.

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Proceedings of 09th IRF International Conference, 27th July-2014, Bengaluru, India, ISBN: 978-93-84209-40-7