Effect of seawater and warm environment on glass/epoxy and glass/polyurethane composites

Abdel Hamid I. Mourad, Abdel Magid Beckry Mohamed, Tamer El-Maaddawy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

154 Citations (Scopus)


A study of the durability of fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) materials in seawater and warm environment is presented in this paper. The major objective of the study is to evaluate the effects of seawater and temperature on the structural properties of glass/epoxy and glass/polyurethane composite materials. These effects were studied in terms of seawater absorption, permeation of salt and contaminants, chemical and physical bonds at the interface, degradation in mechanical properties, and failure mechanisms. Test parameters included immersion time, ranging from 3 months to 1 year, and temperature including room temperature and 65°C. Seawater absorption increased with immersion time and with temperature. The matrix in both composites was efficient in protecting the fibers from corrosive elements in seawater; however moisture creates a dual mechanism of stress relaxation-swelling-mechanical adhesion, and breakdown of chemical bonds between fiber and matrix at the interface. It is observed that high temperature accelerates the degradation mechanism in the glass/polyurethane composite. No significant changes were observed in tensile strength of glass/epoxy and in the modulus of both glass/epoxy and glass/polyurethane composites. However, the tensile strength of the glass/polyurethane composite decreased by 19% after 1 year of exposure to seawater at room temperature and by 31% after 1 year of exposure at 65°C. Plasticization due to moisture absorption leads to ductile failure in the matrix, but this can be reversed in glass/polyurethane composites after extended exposure to seawater at high temperature where brittle failure of matrix and fiber were observed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)557-573
Number of pages17
JournalApplied Composite Materials
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010


  • Composite materials
  • Durability
  • Epoxy
  • Fiber reinforced polymers
  • Mechanical properties
  • Polyurethane

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites


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