Ageing of flax fibre reinforced epoxy composites for structural applications
Over the last few decades, the world witnessed a revolutionary development of fibre reinforced polymer composites FRPCs. These materials, e.g. glass/carbon reinforced polymer composites-have high mechanical performance and design flexibility. On the otherhand, their high initial cost and insufficient long-term experience limited their wider utilization for outdoor structural applications, besides their negative effects on the environment. Therefore, plant-based fibres PbF emerged recently as a promising alternative to synthetic fibres due to their advantageous specific mechanical properties, eco-friendly nature and sustainability.
In practice, composites undergo environmental stresses that in most cases coupled with mechanical stresses caused by sustainedloading (creep) or/and periodic loading (fatigue). The vulnerability of FRPCs to degradation/ageing under environmental and mechanical stresses still the main challenging barrier to be widely used in applications where long-term service in hostile environment is required.This research aims to comprehensively investigate the evolution of physical, chemical, morphological and mechanical properties of flax fibre reinforced epoxy composites when submitted to in-service ageing. In order to develop a numerical/analytical model to predict the composites behavior during aging and determine design factors for each ageing type. Ultimately this research will contribute to widen market applications through the increasing industry confidence in the use of PbFRPCas construction material in hostile environment.