Effects of Freezing on Impact Properties of RTM Composites, and Their Applications in Offshore Structuresby Gregory J. Pope, Univ of Delaware, Newark, United States,
Vistasp M. Karbhari, Univ of Delaware, Newark, United States,
Abstract: Resin transfer molding is rapidly being acknowledged as the process with potential to create perhaps the purest form of a composite material as representative of the concept of `material-by-design.' It provides the capability of local microstructural tailoring, and near-net-shape fabrication, with the advantages of damage tolerance (through the use of textile structural preforms), and low cost for high performance. Inspite of its initial success as a manufacturing method of choice for submarine structural fairings, there has not been as much development in the area of marine structures as expected. This is partially due to the lack of a comprehensive data-set on performance characteristics related to impact, and the effects of temperatures other than those used for aerospace applications. However, the offshore industry can benefit from the advances made using RTM composites in both the automotive and aerospace industries. In this investigation the effects of moisture absorption and freezing on the impact behavior of glass/vinyl-ester resin transfer molded composites is studied. Plaques were tested after exposure to a variety of conditions including exposure to 0°F conditions, immersion in water with subsequent freezing, and room temperature. The effects of different combinations of environmental conditions emphasizing the 0°F level on performance after initial damage, as well as the effects of repeated impact under low (0°F) temperature conditions were studied. Changes in damage mechanisms are explained and the differences in impact resistance under the environmental conditions as determined on two fabric architectures is highlighted. Based on the investigation, guidelines are given for the further development and use of RTM composites as low-cost high-performance materials for offshore structural applications.
Subject Headings: Composite materials | Offshore structures | Construction materials | Temperature effects | Freezing | Materials processing | Environmental issues
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