Investigation of the effect of hot water and water vapour treatments on the strength of thermally conditioned E-glass fibres

Jenkins, Peter G. and Stafford, Mhari R. and Thomason, James L. (2016) Investigation of the effect of hot water and water vapour treatments on the strength of thermally conditioned E-glass fibres. In: The 17th European Conference on Composite Materials (ECCM17), 2016-06-26 - 2016-06-30, Internationales Congress Center München.

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    Abstract

    The processing and reuse of end-of-life composite products in an environmentally friendly manner is an important challenge facing the industry. The development of an economically viable process for regenerating the properties of thermally recycled glass fibres would have significant technological, economic and environmental impacts. Thermal recycling processes for composites are relatively technologically advanced; however, they present a substantial challenge when considering their use for recycling of glass fibre reinforced materials. A combination of exposure to elevated temperatures in the region 450 – 600 °C and to mechanical damage has been shown to cause significant strength loss in glass fibres of up to 90 % of their original value. The recovered fibres are thus unsuitable for use as reinforcement in a second generation composite. Methods of strength recovery that may be applied to such recycled fibres are therefore of interest, particularly if these methods are relatively technologically straightforward. An investigation of possible strength recovery methods using hot water or water vapour was carried out on E-glass fibres. The methods were derived from similar studies on silica in which significant strengthening effects were presented alongside theoretical frameworks to explain the phenomenon [1–3]; a maximum threefold increase in strength following water vapour treatment at 250 °C was demonstrated on silica artificially weakened by abrasion.