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Investigation of the Effects of Environmental Fatigue on the Mechanical Properties of GFRP Composite Constituents Using Nanoindentation

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Adrian OilaORCiD, Dr Arti Yadav, Professor Steve BullORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2021, The Author(s). Background: Fatigue failure criteria for fibre reinforced polymer composites used in the design of marine structures are based on the micromechanical behaviour (e.g. stiffness properties) of their constituents. In the literature, there is a lack of information regarding the stiffness degradation of fibres, polymer matrix and fibre/matrix interface regions affected by environmental fatigue. Objective: The aim of present study is to characterize the stiffness properties of composite constituents using the nanoindentation technique when fatigue failure of composites is due to the combined effect of sea water exposure and cyclic mechanical loads. Methods: In the present study, the nanoindentation technique was used to characterize the stiffness properties of composite constituents where the effects of neighbouring phases, material pile up and viscoplasticity properties of the polymer matrix are corrected by finite element simulation. Results: The use of finite element simulation in conjunction with nanoindentation test data, results in more accurate estimation of projected indented area which is required for measuring the properties of composite constituents. In addition, finite element simulation provides a greater understanding of the stress transfer between composite constituents during the nanoindentation process. Conclusions: Results of nanoindentation testing on the composite microstructure of environmentally fatigue failed composite test coupons establish a strong link to the stiffness degradation of the fiber/matrix interface regions, verifying the degradation of composite constituents identified by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) analysis.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Gonabadi H, Oila A, Yadav A, Bull S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Experimental Mechanics

Year: 2022

Volume: 62

Issue: 4

Pages: 585-602

Print publication date: 01/04/2022

Online publication date: 29/11/2021

Acceptance date: 07/11/2021

Date deposited: 06/07/2022

ISSN (print): 0014-4851

ISSN (electronic): 1741-2765

Publisher: Springer New York LLC


DOI: 10.1007/s11340-021-00808-4


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