To evaluate the effects of thermal cycling on the flexural properties of composites reinforced with two differently sized fibers.

Acid-washed, woven, fused silica-glass fibers, were heat-treated at 500 °C, silanized and sized with one of two sizing resins (linear poly(butyl methacrylate)) (PBMA), cross-linked poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA). Subsequently the fibers were incorporated into a polymer matrix. Two test groups with fibers and one control group without fibers were prepared.
The flexural properties of the composite reinforced with linear PBMA-sized fibers were evaluated by 3-point bend testing before thermal cycling. The specimens from all three groups were thermally cycled in water (12,000 cycles, 5/55 °C, dwell time 30 s), and afterwards tested by 3-point bending. SEM micrographs were taken of the fibers and of the fractured fiber reinforced composites (FRC).

The reduction of ultimate flexural strength after thermal cycling was less than 20% of that prior to thermal cycling for composites reinforced with linear PBMA-sized silica-glass fibers. The flexural strength of the composite reinforced with cross-linked PMMA-sized fibers was reduced to less than half of the initial value.

This study demonstrated that thermal cycling differently influences the flexural properties of composites reinforced with different sized silica-glass fibers. The interfacial linear PBMA-sizing polymer acts as a stress-bearing component for the high interfacial stresses during thermal cycling due to the flexible structure of the linear PBMA above Tg. The cross-linked PMMA-sizing, however, acts as a rigid component and therefore causes adhesive fracture between the fibers and matrix after the fatigue process of thermal cycling and flexural fracture.



Effect of thermal cycling on composites reinforced with two differently sized silica-glass fibers
Meric G, Ruyter IE
Dent Mater. 2007 Sep; 23(9):1157-1163.