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Determination of moisture effects on impact properties of composite materials

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Many applications of structural materials involving composites include impact or dynamic loading in a humid environment. Composite materials are known to degrade when subjected to humid conditions, and therefore the humidity confounds the difficulty of determining the high strain rate behavior of composites. Several researchers have found that water absorption by composites causes degradation of matrix dominated quasi-static properties. However, very little is known of the effect of absorbed moisture on the high strain rate properties of polymer matrix composites, that are useful in the automotive, aerospace, and naval applications of composite structures. A Split-Hopkinson Pressure Bar facility is used herein to study the effect of absorbed moisture in high strain rate tests (200–1200/s) of a unidirectional IM7/8551-7 graphite/epoxy composite. The study includes dry, medium, and saturated moisture conditions. The tests show significant variation of high strain rate properties from static properties, and the reasons are identified. In addition, a better understanding of the effect of the matrix and fiber/matrix interface on the high strain rate properties of composites is achieved.

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Correspondence to E. Woldesenbet.

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Woldesenbet, E., Gupta, N. & Vinson, J.R. Determination of moisture effects on impact properties of composite materials. Journal of Materials Science 37, 2693–2698 (2002).

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