Characterizing the toughness of an epoxy resin after wet aging using compact tension specimens with non-uniform moisture content
KAUST DepartmentPhysical Sciences and Engineering (PSE) Division
Mechanical Engineering Program
Composite and Heterogeneous Material Analysis and Simulation Laboratory (COHMAS)
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AbstractCharacterizing the change in toughness of polymers subjected to wet aging is challenging because of the heterogeneity of the testing samples. Indeed, as wet aging is guided by a diffusion/reaction process, compact tension samples (defined by the ASTM D5045 standard), which are relevant for toughness characterization but are somewhat thick, display a non-uniform moisture content over the bulk material. We define here a rigorous procedure to extract meaningful data from such tests. Our results showed that the relation between the moisture uptake of the whole sample and the measured toughness was not a meaningful material property. In fact, we found that the measured toughness depended on the locally varying moisture uptake over the cracking path. Here, we propose a post-processing technique that relies on a validated reaction/diffusion model to predict the three-dimensional moisture state of the epoxy. This makes identification of the variation in toughness with respect to the local moisture content possible. In addition, we analyze the fracture surface using micrography and roughness measurements. The observed variations in toughness are correlated with the roughness in the vicinity of the crack tip. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights rese.