Journal article

Multi-factorial models of a carbon fibre/epoxy composite subjected to accelerated environmental ageing

Among materials being introduced in the aerospace industry, the carbon fibre reinforced plastics (CFRP) have a place of privilege because of their exceptional stiffness-to-mass ratio. However, the polymer-based matrix is vulnerable to damages by environmental conditions. This work exposes the experimental results of several accelerated environmental ageing protocols on CFRP panels. The main concern is to justify or reject by statistical means that a significant degradation of mechanical properties does occur over the time, and to establish a basic model to quantify the effects of different environmental factors of the composite ageing. The results considered here are the elastic properties evaluated over several weeks of accelerated artificial ageing. The stiffness degradation of the samples subjected to the aforementioned ageing protocols is statistically described by a non-linear multi-factorial model inspired by the Design of Experiments (DoE) theory. The evolution of constitutive properties (namely mass and elastic properties) over the time exhibits an asymptotic exponential increasing (or decreasing) pattern over the time. The usefulness of these mathematical models is their predictability, based only on theoretical considerations on moisture absorption. This path is further investigated in this paper, clearing up the way to a methodical prediction of ageing models. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


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