Compressive mechanical behaviour of E-glass/polyester composite laminates tailored with a thermoplastic preforming binder
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Compressive mechanical behaviour and failure modes of E (electrical)-glass/polyester composite laminates tailored with a thermoplastic preforming polyester binder were investigated under ply-lay up and in-plane loading directions. Fiber preforms with various amount of the binder were consolidated under heat and pressure. The preform compaction experiments were performed by applying compressive pressure to the preforms, and the average thickness as a function of pressure was measured. It was found that the highest compaction of the preforms and therefore the highest fiber volume fraction can be obtained with 3 wt.% of the binder. Further increase of the amount of binder decreases the degree of compaction. Composite panels were fabricated by vacuum-assisted resin transfer molding using fabric preforms with various binder concentrations. The present investigation reveals that there are considerable effects of the binder on the compressive mechanical behaviour of the composites. Compression testing of the composites showed that the average strength values are in the range of 400-600 and 150-300 MPa for ply-lay up and in-plane directions, respectively. Also, both the strength and modulus values increase up to 3 wt.% of the binder, and these values decrease with further addition of the binder. Scanning electron microscopy showed that failure modes of the composites are altered significantly by the presence of the binder. Furthermore, the interaction between the binder and the reacting resin was followed to determine the extent of the binder dissolution and its effects on the viscosity of the resin and the mechanical behaviour of the matrix polymer. The results indicate that there is a partial dissolution of the binder within the matrix resin.