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WATER AND SEAWATER EFFECTS ON THE MEMBERS MADE OF E-GLASS


COMPOSITE MATERIALS

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Cerbu Camelia
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SISOM 2006, Bucharest 17-19 May

WATER AND SEAWATER EFFECTS ON THE MEMBERS


MADE OF E-GLASS COMPOSITE MATERIALS

Camelia CERBU

Department of Strength of Materials and Vibrations, “Transilvania” University of Brasov,


B-dul Eroilor 29, 500036 Brasov, România,
cerbu@unitbv.ro

In this paper, the effects of the water and seawater on the motor boat hull made of E-glass reinforced
polymers, are analysed. Some experimental results concerning the moisture effects on the mechanical
properties of the specimens made of E-glass reinforced resins are shown. The changes of the rigidity
after 9200 hours of immersion in water and natural seawater (from Black Sea), is analysed in case of
three composite materials: E-glass / polyester Heliopol 8431 ATX, E-glass / polyester Polylite 440-
M880 and E-glass / epoxy LY 554. Then, a numerical model (FEM) of the rear plate of the motor
boat hull is proposed. Due to a good conservation of the strength and flexural modulus under the
action of the moisture effects in case of the E-glass / polyester composites studied, the stiffness of the
member analysed decreases a little. This is the reason for which the present paper finally recommends
the E-glass / polyester composites to manufacture members that are mechanical loaded in the wet
environments.
Key words: composite material, moisture, water, seawater, stiffness.

1. INTRODUCTION

Environmental moisture can penetrate the organic materials by a diffusion process. Typically, moisture
works as a plasticizer for a polymer, i.e., properties as stiffness, strength and glass transition temperature
decrease with the ingress of moisture in polymer. It is now well recognised that the problem of moisture
absorption in polymeric matrix composites is a very important one.
There are two fundamental effects that may be taken into account when designing components made of
polymeric matrix composites (PMCs) namely, temperature and humidity. The combined effect of these two,
that is, hygrothermal effects, can result in a considerable degradation in the mechanical characteristics of
polymeric matrix composites. This is especially so in high-performance composites such as those used in the
aerospace industry where dimensional tolerances are rather severe.
Glass fibre reinforced polymers are used in a wide variety of industries: from sporting goods, civil
constructions to aerospace. Tanks and vessels (pressure and non-pressure) in the chemical process industry,
as well as process and effluent pipelines, are routinely made of glass fibre reinforced polyesters resin. For
boat builders, the composite materials used must be stiffness, waterproof, sun-proof in addition to good
impact strength.
To use the full potential of the composite materials, their response to environmental effects (moisture,
temperature, thermal cycle etc.) must be known. In the previous papers [2, 3, 4, 5] it was shown that the
mechanical characteristics (tensile strength, flexural modulus E and flexural stress σ e to the elastic limit)
decreases after 9200 hours of immersion in water and natural seawater (from Black Sea). Some experimental
results published in that papers will be used to show the advantages of the E-glass / polyesters composites in
case of the naval applications. The conservation of the stiffness under the action of the water and seawater is
an additional criterion should be used to design members loaded in wet environments. The stiffness of the
rear plate of a motor boat hull is analysed in case of the undamaged and damaged composite materials to
show the effects of water and seawater on the members which works in these environments.
Camelia CERBU 178

2. WORK METHOD

In this paper, theoretical researches concerning the states of stress and strain inside the rear plate of a
motor boat hull (figure 2) were considered to analyse the effects of the water and seawater absorption on the
stiffness. We note that S.C. Compozite S.R.L. of Brasov (Romania) manufactures the motor boat (figure 1)
analysed within this paper.

Figure 1. Motor boat Figure 2. Motorboat hull

The first of all, experimental investigations [2, 3, 4] concerning environmental effects on the
mechanical behaviour of the randomly E-glass fibres reinforced polymeric resins (polyester Heliopol 8431
ATX, polyester Polylite 440-M880 and epoxy LY 554), were made.

E-glass / polyester HELIOPOL 8431 A E-glass / poliester Heliopol 8431 ATX


154 9385 9215
160 149 10000 8913
133 138 8241 8217
158 9000
140
Flexural modulus E [MPa]
Flexural stress σ e [MPa]

8000
120
7000

Unprotected - 87,81 %
Unprotected - 94,97 %

Protected - 98,18 %

Protected - 87,55 %
100 6000
Unprotected - 96,6 %

Unprotected - 86,4 %

Protected - 89,46 %

5000
Protected - 102,5 %

80
4000
60
3000
40
2000
20 1000
0 0
Dry specimens Water Seawater Dry specimens Water Seawater
(Black Sea) (Black Sea)

a. b.
Figure 3. Experimental results of the flexural test in case of E-glass / Heliopol 8431 ATX composite

159 E-glass / polyester Polylite 440-M880 E-glass / polyester Polylite 440-M880


160 9081
138 134 10000 8977
146 130 8164 8305
140 9000 8225
Flexural stress σ e [MPa]

Flexural modulus E [MPa]

120 8000
7000
Unprotected - 90,58 %

Unprotected -89,90 %

100
Protected - 91,45 %
Protected - 98,86 %

6000
Unprotected - 81,3 %

80
Unprotected - 86,9 %

5000
Protected - 91,6 %

Protected - 83,8 %

60 4000
3000
40
2000
20
1000
0 0
Dry specimens Water Seawater Dry specimens Water Seawater
(Black Sea) (Black Sea)
a. b.
Figure 4. Experimental results of the flexural test in case of E-glass / Polylite 440-M880 composite
179 Water and seawater effects on the members made of e-glass composite materials

5825 E-glass / epoxy LY 554


140 128 E-glass / epoxy LY 554
6000 5325 5258
120 4760
Flexural stress σ e [MPa]

Flexural modulus E [MPa]


100 5000 4543
98
100 89 88
4000

Unprotected - 77,99 %

Unprotected - 91,42 %

Protected - 90,27 %
Protected - 81,72 %
80

Unprotected - 78,6 %
Unprotected - 69,4 % 3000

Protected - 76,62 %
Protected - 68,7 %
60
2000
40
1000
20

0 0
Dry specimens Water Seawater Dry specimens Water Seawater
(Black Sea) (Black Sea)
a. b.
Figure 5. Experimental results of the flexural test in case of E-glass / epoxy LY 554 composite

Water and fresh natural seawater from Black Sea at room temperature were used as wet environments.
The salinity of the natural seawater was approximately of 1.6 %. The water tanks were covered to minimise
evaporation and it was changed every month to keep conditions constant. After 9200 hours of immersion, the
flexural specimens were subjected to a flexural test (three points method) according to [6]. The researches
lead us to the conclusion that the flexural modulus E and flexural stress σ e at the elastic limit, decrease due
to the moisture absorption (figures 3 – 5). It was found that the greatest decreasing of the mechanical
characteristics (figure 5) occurred in case of the E-glass / epoxy composite, especially after immersion in
water. In general a grater decreasing of the mechanical properties was observed in case of the composite
materials immersed in water. The reason would be that the composites tested absorbed more water than
seawater [1]. The sodium chloride molecules contained in the seawater (as well as sulphate) appear to be
limiting the diffusion of water into the matrix material.
Then, a numerical model of the rear plate of a motorboat hull (figure 6) was proposed by using the
method of finite elements. Stresses and strains occurred due to the action of the drag force
(Fmax = 1589,22 N ) developed by the motor of the boat, were analysed.
To model the rear plate Shell43 elements are used because this member is made of randomly E-glass
fibres composite materials. It is known that randomly reinforcing is used to obtain a composite material
whose elastic characteristics are the same about any direction (isotropic material).

Figure 6. Boundary conditions and loading


Camelia CERBU 180

This means that the element Shell43 is justifiably chosen. Solid45 elements are used for the holding
plate of the motor whose drag force acts upon the rear plate of the motor boat hull. Finally, 28926 nodes and
32985 elements were obtained for the numerical model of the rear plate of the motor boat hull. Figure 6
shows boundary conditions and the external drag force developed by the motor.
The first of all, the results concerning stresses and strains developed in the rear plate of the motor boat
hull made of E-glass / polyester Polylite 440-M880 (E = 9081 MPa ) . Herein, we show only the equivalent
normal stress σ ech. by using Von Misses theory (figure 7), normal strains ε x (figure 8) and displacement u x
(figure 9). We observe that the normal stresses do not exceed the elastic limit of the composite materials
analysed.

Figure 7. Equivalent stress σ eqv. (Von Misses) Figure 8. Normal strain ε x

Figure 9. Displacement u x (E-glass / polyester Polylite 440- Figure 10. Displacement u x after 9200 hours of immersion in
M880 - E = 9081 MPa ) water (E-glass / polyester Polylite 440-M880 - E = 8225 MPa )

It follows that E-glass / polyester Polylite 440-M880 composite could be used to manufacture the
motor boat hull. The problem that arises is how the degradation of the composite material due to the moisture
absorption, acts on the stiffness of the rear plate.
Because the greatest values of the displacement are about Ox direction, the changes of the stiffness was
analysed by comparing the maximum displacement about that direction as will be shown in the next section.
181 Water and seawater effects on the members made of e-glass composite materials

3. RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS

Since the conservation of some mechanical characteristics of the composite materials tested, had
already been analysed, it was easy to apply the experimental results to the numerical model. The results
concerning the displacement u x of the rear plate in case of the E-glass / Polylite 4440-M880 undamaged
(figure 9) may easily compared with the results obtained in case of the damaged composite (figure 10) after
9200 hours of immersion in water.

E-glass / polyester HELIOPOL 8431 ATX


After 9200 hours
of immersion in 2,198
seawater

After 9200 hours


of immersion in 2,026
water

Dry material 1,924

0,0 0,5 1,0 1,5 2,0 2,5

Maximum value of the displacement u x [mm ]

Figure 11. Maximum value of the deflection u x for the rear plate (E-glass / Heliopol 8431 ATX)

E-glass / polyester POLYLITE 440-M880


After 9200 hours
of immersion in 2,206
seawater

After 9200 hours


of immersion in 2,189
water

Dry material 1,983

0,0 0,5 1,0 1,5 2,0 2,5

Maximum value of the displacement u x [mm ]

Figure 12. Maximum value of the deflection u x for the rear plate (E-glass / Polylite 440-M880)

E-glass / epoxy LY 554


After 9200 hours
of immersion in 3,324
seawater

After 9200 hours


of immersion in 3,848
water

Dry material 3,001

0,0 0,5 1,0 1,5 2,0 2,5 3,0 3,5 4,0 4,5

Maximum value of the displacement u x [mm ]

Figure 13. Maximum value of the deflection u x for the rear plate (E-glass / epoxy LY 554)
Camelia CERBU 182

Since the modulus of elasticity decreases due to the action of the water and seawater (table 1), the
stiffness of the rear plate also decreases. The maximum value of the displacement u x of the rear plate, was
graphically analysed (figures 11-13) in case of all composite materials tested, before and after 9200 hours (≈
13 months) of immersion in water and natural seawater (from Black Sea). Analysing the above graphics the
following important remarks are noted:
- The effects of the water and seawater on the stiffness of the rear plate analysed are different in case of all
composite materials considered.
- The greatest value of the maximum displacement u x = 3.848 mm is observed in case of the E-glass / epoxy
LY 554 composite damaged due to the water absorption.
- The maximum displacement u x in case of the E-glass / Polylite 440-M880 and E-glass / Heliopol 8431
ATX composites undamaged is approximately equal to half of the maximum displacement u x in case of
the E-glass / epoxy LY 554 damaged due to the water absorption.
- The conservation of the stiffness of the motor boat hull is not good when E-glass / epoxy LY 554 composite
is used to manufacture this member.

4. CONCLUSION

Finally, some important conclusions of this paper are noted:


• Since the flexural modulus E of the composite materials analysed decreases, it follows that the stiffness
of these composites decreases by the same ratio (between 5 % and 20 %).
• The E-glass / polyester composites analysed are recommended as composite material in case of water or
seawater environment. In particular case, that material may be used to manufacture the hull of the motor
boat analysed.
• From material point of view, the structural optimisation of the rear plate of the motorboat analysed, leads
the author, to the conclusion that E-glass / Polylite 440-M880 and E-glass / Heliopol 8431 composites
must be used to manufacturer this member. The principal reason was the conservation of the strength and
stiffness under the action of the environmental effects in case of that composite material. This criterion
was considered in addition to the high-strength criterion and high-stiffness criterion.
• E-glass / epoxy LY 554 composite materials is not recommended in wet environment due to the
degradation of the stiffness under the action of water and seawater.
• From point of view of the reasons shown in this work, it is recommendable to take into account the
results of this paper to design the structural members which works in wet environments.

REFERENCES

1. CERBU, Camelia, CURTU, I., ROŞU, D., Moisture behaviour of the glass fibre mat reinforced polymer, In: Sympózium drevné
kompozitné materiály (Composite wood materials), ISBN 80-228-1302-8, Zvolen, pp.171 –17, june of 2004;
2. CERBU, Camelia, Aspects concerning the moisture effects on the stiffness of the glass-reinforced polymers, Proceedings of the 4th
Youth Symposium on Experimental Solid Mechanics, Castracaro Terme, Italia, ISBN-88-901080-2-9-44406, pp. 161-162,
May 2005;
3. CERBU, Camelia, CURTU, I., Aspects concerning environmental effects on the glass-reinforced polymers, Proceedings of the 9th
International Research / Expert Conference “Trends in the Development of Machinery and Associated Technology” TMT
2005, ISBN 9958-617-28-5, Antalya, Turcia, pp. 1451-1454, 26 – 30 September 2005;
4. CERBU, Camelia, Researches concerning structural optimization of some members made of composite materials loaded under
aggressive environmental effects, Doctoral thesis, University “Transilvania” of Brasov, Romania, 17 December 2005;
5. SPRINGER, G. S., Environmental Effects on Composite Materials, Vol. 2, Technomic Publishing Inc., Lancaster, PA, 1984;
6. SR EN 63, Glass fibre reinforced plastics, Determination of flexural properties, Three point method, CEN, Bruxelles, 1998.

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