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Viscoelastically prestressed polymeric matrix composites: An overview

Fancey, Kevin S.



Elastically prestressed polymeric matrix composites exploit the principles of prestressed concrete, i.e. fibres are stretched elastically during matrix curing. On matrix solidification, compressive stresses are created within the matrix, counterbalanced by residual fibre tension. Unidirectional glass fibre elastically prestressed polymeric matrix composites have demonstrated 25–50% improvements in impact toughness, strength and stiffness compared with control (unstressed) counterparts. Although these benefits require no increase in section dimensions or weight, the need to apply fibre tension during curing can impose restrictions on processing and product geometry. Also, fibre–matrix interfacial creep may eventually cause the prestress to deteriorate. This paper gives an overview of an alternative approach: viscoelastically prestressed polymeric matrix composites. Here, polymeric fibres are subjected to tensile creep, the applied load being removed before the fibres are moulded into the matrix. Following matrix curing, viscoelastic recovery mechanisms cause the previously strained fibres to impart compressive stresses to the matrix. Since fibre stretching and moulding operations are decoupled, viscoelastically prestressed polymeric matrix composite production offers considerable flexibility. Also, the potential for deterioration through fibre–matrix creep is offset by longer term viscoelastic recovery mechanisms. To date, viscoelastically prestressed viscoelastically prestressed polymeric matrix composites have been produced from fibre reinforcements such as nylon 6,6, ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene and bamboo. Compared with control counterparts, mechanical property improvements are similar to those of elastically prestressed polymeric matrix composites. Of major importance, however, is longevity: through accelerated ageing, nylon fibre-based viscoelastically prestressed viscoelastically prestressed polymeric matrix composites show no deterioration in mechanical performance over a duration equivalent to ∼25 years at 50℃ ambient. Potential applications include crashworthy and impact-absorbing structures, dental materials, prestressed precast concrete and shape-changing (morphing) structures.

Publication Date Sep 1, 2016
Journal Journal of reinforced plastics and composites
Print ISSN 0731-6844
Electronic ISSN 1530-7964
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 35
Issue 17
Pages 1290-1301
APA6 Citation Fancey, K. S. (2016). Viscoelastically prestressed polymeric matrix composites: An overview. Journal of Reinforced Plastics and Composites, 35(17), 1290-1301.
Keywords Polymer-matrix composites; Prestress; Mechanical properties; Viscoelasticity
Publisher URL
Copyright Statement ©2016 Sage Publications
Additional Information This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article published in Journal of reinforced plastics and composites, 2016, v.35 issue 17.


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