In situ long-term durability analysis of biocomposites in the marine environment

Abstract : This work aims to address a complete analysis of the use of flax fibres to substitute glass fibres in composite materials designed for nautical applications. This substitution requires a better understanding of the composites life cycle: from materials selection and processing to its hydric ageing, especially under real conditions (exposition to water, temperature and mechanical loadings).A preliminary study is devoted to the selection of materials (flax fibre fabrics and polyester resin) and to the comparison between two methods for manufacturing composites (vacuum infusion and compression moulding) through their mechanical and the morphological properties.The ageing behaviour of flax fibre reinforced composites (FFRC) and glass fibre reinforced composites (GFRC) is then studied. A set of original methods have been implemented to monitor the evolving morphology (water uptake, swelling) and mechanical properties (statics and dynamics). First of all, hydrothermal ageing of glass and flax fibre composites is characterized until water saturation. This step is followed by the study of a drying phase in order to verify the reversibility of physical and mechanical properties. In parallel, a particular issue of this work was devoted to reducing the hydrophilicity of flax fibres into composites.The hydrothermo-mechanical coupling behaviour of biocomposites is then studied by imposing a creep solicitation to biocomposites immersed in water. The application of this methodology highlighted the significant influence of the coupled solicitations. Contrary to all expectations, superimposing a load during a hydrothermal ageing slows the loss of the elastic properties in comparison with the sum of the uncoupled ageing effects.Finally, a finite element model was stablished in order to predict the hydric diffusion within the composite material. The 2D model integrates the real morphology of composites, and particularly the organisation of the flax fibres in the matrix at different scales. This modelling represents the first step in predicting the evolving behaviour of biocomposites exposed to ageing conditions.
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Guilherme Apolinario Testoni. In situ long-term durability analysis of biocomposites in the marine environment. Materials. Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris, 2015. English. ⟨NNT : 2015ENMP0046⟩. ⟨tel-01299806⟩

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