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Mechanical properties of thermally-treated and recycled glass fibres

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Geoff Gibson, Professor Adrian Mouritz


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This paper investigates the effects of temperature, heating time and atmosphere on the tensile modulus and strength of thermally-treated E-glass fibres. The heating conditions that were investigated are identical to those used in thermal recycling of waste polymer matrix composite materials, and therefore this study determines the effects of the recycling process conditions on the properties of reclaimed fibreglass. The loss in fibre strength is dependent on the temperature and time of the thermal process, and large strength loss occurs under the heating conditions used for high temperature incineration of polymer composites. A phenomenological model is presented for the residual fibre strength for the temperatures and heating time of the thermal recycling process. The reduction in fibre strength is dependent on the thermal recycling atmosphere under low temperature or short heating time conditions, but at high temperatures the strength loss is the same, regardless of furnace atmosphere (ambient air, dry air or inert gas). Quantitative fractographic analysis of the fibres shows that fracture for all heat treatments is caused by surface flaws. The strength loss is most probably due to structural relaxation during thermal annealing and a secondary effect of adsorbed surface water attacking the glass by thermally-activated stress-corrosion. It is shown that large reductions in fibre strength due to thermal recycling are not recovered during composite manufacture, therefore resulting in composite materials with significantly lower strength. The reduced strength of the composite matches the reduced fibre strength following thermal recycling. (c) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Feih S, Boiocchi E, Mathys G, Mathys Z, Gibson AG, Mouritz AP

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Composites Part B: Engineering

Year: 2011

Volume: 42

Issue: 3

Pages: 350-358

Print publication date: 13/01/2011

ISSN (print): 1359-8368

ISSN (electronic):

Publisher: Pergamon


DOI: 10.1016/j.compositesb.2010.12.020


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Funder referenceFunder name
N00014-08-11253United States Office of Naval Research