Investigation of chemical and physical surface changes of thermally conditioned glass fibres

Jenkins, Peter G and Yang, Liu and Thomason, James L and Chen, Xinyong and Watts, John F and Hinder, Steven J (2019) Investigation of chemical and physical surface changes of thermally conditioned glass fibres. Fibers, 7 (1). 7. ISSN 2079-6439

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    Abstract

    A number of analytical techniques were applied to investigate changes to the surface of unsized boron-free E-glass fibres after thermal conditioning at temperatures up to 700 °C. Novel systematic studies were carried out to investigate the fundamental strength loss from thermal conditioning. Surface chemical changes studied using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) showed a consistent increase in the surface concentration of calcium with increasing conditioning temperature, although this did not correlate well with a loss of fibre strength. Scanning electron microscopy fractography confirmed the difficulty of analysing failure-inducing flaws on individual fibre fracture surfaces. Analysis by atomic force microscopy (AFM) did not reveal any likely surface cracks or flaws of significant dimensions to cause failure: the observation of cracks before fibre fracture may not be possible when using this technique. Fibre surface roughness increased over the whole range of the conditioning temperatures investigated. Although surface roughness did not correlate precisely with fibre strength, there was a clear inverse relationship at temperatures exceeding 400 °C. The interpretation of the surface topography that formed between 400-700 °C produced evidence that the initial stage of phase separation by spinodal decomposition may have occurred at the fibre surface.