Evaluation of the protective performance of hydrophobic coatings applied on carbon-fibre epoxy composites

Title: Evaluation of the protective performance of hydrophobic coatings applied on carbon-fibre epoxy composites
Authors: O'Connor, HeatherDowling, Denis P.
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/11735
Date: 1-May-2020
Online since: 2020-11-25T12:16:44Z
Abstract: Carbon-fibre epoxy composites are widely used for high performance structural applications, where they are often exposed to harsh environments. The result of moisture ingress has been extensively studied, causing significant deterioration in the mechanical properties of these composites. This study evaluates the performance of five commercial hydrophobic coatings as protective layers, to inhibit moisture ingress into the composite. The coatings evaluated were: NeverWet, HydroBead, SHC, Aculon and LiquidGlass. These coatings were characterised and compared in terms of hydrophobicity, surface energy, roughness and chemical composition. This study also evaluated two atmospheric plasma pre-treatments as a means of enhancing the adhesion performance of these coatings. The pre-treatments involved the use of an air plasma for the activation of the epoxy, as well as the plasma deposition of a nanometre thick SiOx interlayer coating. The durability and protective performance of the coatings, with and without the pre-treatments were then compared using an abrasion test as well as a water immersion study. The use of both plasma pre-treatments was found to enhance the adhesion and the abrasion performance of four out of the five coatings. Of the coatings and pre-treatments investigated, the LiquidGlass in conjunction with an SiOx coating interlayer was found to exhibit the highest abrasion resistance. This was followed by the composite which was plasma activated prior to the application of the Aculon coating. Only minor differences were observed when comparing the total moisture ingress (M%) of the epoxy, coated with the different hydrophobic layers. The composite coated with the Aculon and SiOx interlayer exhibited the least amount of moisture ingress, at 0.90 %, compared to 1.08 % of the uncoated specimen. The shear strength of epoxy composite, coated with the LiquidGlass, NeverWet and the activated Aculon combination, were within the range of the uncoated specimens, therefore the moisture ingress was reversible upon heating and no permanent damage to the epoxy-fibre interface was observed. It is concluded that, of the five coatings investigated, both the Aculon coating and LiquidGlass in combination with an SiOx interlayer coating, exhibit the greatest potential as protective layers for carbon fibre epoxy composites.
Funding Details: European Commission - Seventh Framework Programme (FP7)
Science Foundation Ireland
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: SAGE
Journal: Journal of Composite Materials
Volume: 54
Issue: 10
Start page: 1327
End page: 1338
Copyright (published version): 2020 SAGE
Keywords: Hydrophobic coatingsCarbon-fibre epoxy compositeAtmospheric pressure plasmaPolymer composite pre-treatments
DOI: 10.1177/0021998319877454
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
This item is made available under a Creative Commons License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/ie/
Appears in Collections:Mechanical & Materials Engineering Research Collection
I-Form Research Collection

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