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Why cyclic hygrothermal ageing modifies the transverse mechanical properties of a unidirectional epoxy-flax fibres composite ?

Résumé : The development of composites based on plant fibres has considerably grown in last decades; however, their high sensitivity to moisture limits their use in structural applications. The objective of this study is to determine and understand the impact of moisture variations during one-year cyclic hygrothermal ageing i.e. 52 cycles on the transverse properties of a unidirectional epoxy flax composite. A cycle consists of 3.5 days at 90% RH followed by 3.5 days at 40% RH. Compared to the studies usually carried out to determine the impact of ageing on the longitudinal properties of unidirectional composites, the determination of the transverse mechanical properties during this type of ageing allowed to focus on the contribution of the matrix and the interface on the evolution of the composite properties. The multi-scale analyzes provided identification of the phases responsible for the evolution of transverse mechanical properties induced by ageing. The transverse ultimate tensile strength drops by about 20% after the first week of ageing and slightly decreases up to 2 months. This evolution seems to be induced by the creation of flaws, in particular the phenomena of fibre-fibre and matrix-fibre debonding and the creation of cracks in the fibres initiated at the lumen level, revealed by SEM. The transverse modulus also strongly drops after the first week by about 18% to reach about 45 % loss after one year of ageing. These evolutions are mainly linked to the physical plasticization of the epoxy matrix demonstrated by the reversible change of its glass transition temperature, but analyses showed that water does not lead to chemical degradation of the matrix.
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Submitted on : Friday, March 5, 2021 - 6:33:37 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, March 17, 2021 - 3:40:14 AM
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Laetitia van Schoors, Thomas Cadu, Sandrine Moscardelli, Loïc Divet, Stéphane Fontaine, et al.. Why cyclic hygrothermal ageing modifies the transverse mechanical properties of a unidirectional epoxy-flax fibres composite ?. Industrial Crops and Products, Elsevier, 2021, 164, 26 p., graph., bibliogr. ⟨10.1016/j.indcrop.2021.113341⟩. ⟨hal-03161203⟩

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