Mechanical and chemical properties of nanoparticle-coated E-glass fibers for composites applications
Glass fibers are the most extensively employed reinforcement materials in the fiber-reinforced composites field owing to their superior mechanical properties with cost-effectiveness. The mechanical and chemical properties of the composites are greatly dependent upon the reinforcement materials. In order to enhance the performance of composites, it is necessary to improve the mechanical property of the reinforcement materials, i.e., glass fibers. In this thesis, the mechanical and chemical properties of E-glass fibers were investigated via the incorporation of metal oxide nanoparticles. As part of this process, E-glass fibers were dip-coated with nanoparticle solutions using titania (TiO2), silica (SiO2), and zirconia (ZrO2) nanoparticles. Microscopic and spectroscopic analysis proved the presence of nanoparticles on the surface of the fibers. Tensile tests were conducted on bare and nanoparticle-coated fibers to see the effect of coating and the concentration of nanoparticles over the fiber’s surface. Weibull statistical analysis was carried out on bare and coated fibers to see the effect of stress on the probability of failures of the E-glass fibers. A fractographic study was also carried out on E-glass fibers to see the effect of tensile strength on the mirror region of the fracture surface. Additionally, chemical analysis was also carried out to see the resistivity of the fibers in a highly alkaline environment. The results suggest that glass fibers coated with TiO2 nanoparticles improved the tensile strength of fibers up to 11.7% by providing a lower probability of failure. On the other hand, coating with SiO2 nanoparticles had a slightly negative impact on the strength of fibers due to the lower quality of coating, leading to a decrease in the tensile strength and an increase in the probability of failure. Moreover, ZrO2 nanoparticles were found effective in providing resistance against the corrosion to the glass fibers in an alkaline environment for up to 4 days of dwelling. Nanoparticle-coated E-glass fibers are expected to improve the mechanical and chemical properties of glass fiber-reinforced composites for various industrial applications in the future.