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ISSN: 2395-0560

International Research Journal of Innovative Engineering


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Volume1, Issue 4 of April 2015

STUDY OF MECHANICAL PROPERTIES OF GLASS


FIBRE REINFORCED EPOXY COMPOSITE
Smita G. Mekalke
Mechanical Engineering Department, Jain College of Engineering, Belagavi, 590014, India.

Abstract

In the dissertation work an attempt is made to study the Mechanical properties of Glass Fibre Reinforced
Epoxy Composite and Wear Resistance of the material using Design of Experiments (DOE) approach. The composite is
fabricated using Epoxy Resin and woven Glass Fibre mats of different Grams/Square Meter (GSM) values. Hand lay-up
technique is used for fabrication of the composite. The composite is tested as per ASTM standards for various mechanical
properties such as Tensile Strength, Impact Strength and Bending Strength. The composite is also tested for Wear Resistance by varying the process parameters during the test such as load applied, loading time and glass fibre GSM. As per
the Design of Experiments approach, the three parameters are varied in two levels and single replicates i.e. L8 array. The
specified number of experiments is conducted to obtain the optimum condition for Wear Resistance by the composite.

Keywords GFRP, Tensile strength, Impact Strength, Bending Strength, Wear Resistance, DOE

1. Introduction
The unique and diverse characteristics of composite materials have increased in their utilisation worldwide. From featherweight fly fishing rods to high performance airplane parts, the use of fiber reinforced composite materials is becoming
more popular due to their high strength to weight ratio combined with easy manufacturing methods. Fiber reinforced polymer matrix consists of reinforcing fibers and polymer resin. The fibers are considered as principal load carrying constituent
of the composite, while the role of polymer matrix is to transfer the load between fibers as well as provide corrosion resistance damage tolerance and thermal environmental stability.
Fillers are used along with various commodity as well as engineering polymers to improve the properties and reduce the
cost. Incorporating inorganic mineral fillers into plastic resin improves various physical properties of the materials such as
mechanical strength, modulus etc. In general the mechanical properties of particulate filled polymer composites depend
strongly on size, shape and distribution of filler particles in the polymer matrix and extend of interfacial adhesion between
filler and matrix.
At present, epoxy resins are widely used in various engineering and structural applications such as electrical industries, and
commercial and military aircrafts industries. In order to improve their processing and product performances, and to reduce
cost, various fillers are introduced into the resins during processing. However polymeric composites are susceptible to mechanical damage, when subjected to tension, wear and flexural loads resulting in interlayer delamination. Over the past
several decades enormous efforts have been made to study the mechanical characteristics of composites.
1.1 Overview
The dissertation work deals with determining the mechanical properties and wear resistance of glass fibre reinforced epoxy
composite. The composite is manufactured by hand-layup process. Specimens were cut and tested according to ASTM
standards. The mechanical properties like Tensile Strength, Bending Strength and Impact Strength of the material were
studied. Wear resistance of the composite was checked using the Design of Experiment (DOE) approach by varying the
Load, Speed and Loading time on the specimen.
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ISSN: 2395-0560

International Research Journal of Innovative Engineering


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Volume1, Issue 4 of April 2015
1.2 Aim

i) Investigation of the mechanical properties such as Tensile Strength, Bend Strength and Impact Strength of the GFRP.
ii) Investigation of the Wear resistance of the composite.
iii) Using Design of Experiments approach to analyze the Wear resistance of the composite.

2. Testing of Mechanical Properties


The experimental procedure carried out during the course of the dissertation work mainly deals with two aspects i.e. Fabrication of the composite specimen and Testing of the fabricated specimen for various mechanical properties. The composite
was fabricated using the conventional Hand layup method using the following materials:
o Epoxy Resin (Araldite LY556)
o E-glass Fiber (Woven mat)
o Hardener
(HY951)
The fiber and the matrix were taken in the ratio of 40:60. The quantity was decided based on the calculations of fibre volume fraction.
Following tests were conducted in the present work to study the various mechanical properties of the fabricated composite:
1) Tensile Test (ASTM D3039)
2) Three Point Bending Test (ASTM D790)
3) Impact Test (Charpy) (ASTM D256)
4) Wear Test (ASTM G65)
2.1. Tensile Test
Tensile tests were carried out on Universal Testing Machine (Instron) to know the tensile strength of the composite material.
The composite specimens were cut in proper sizes (250*25mm) as per ASTM standards i.e. ASTM D 3039 for tensile test.
These tests were carried out on the specimens at room temperature. Specimens were placed in the flat hatched grips and were
pulled until failure. The test specimen after failure is shown below. An extensometer/strain gauge was used to determine the
elongation and tensile modulus.

Figure 1. Tensile test specimen after failure

2.2. 3-Point Bend Test


Bending strength is also known as modulus of rupture or fracture strength, which is mechanical parameter of materials. It is
defined as a material's ability to resist deformation under bending loads. The transverse bending test is most frequently employed, in which a rod specimen having either a circular or rectangular cross-section is bent until fracture occurs using a three
point bend test technique. The bending strength represents the highest stress bearing capacity of the material at its moment of
rupture. 3-Point Bend Testing was carried on rectangular specimens (127 x 12.7 mm) of composite using Universal Testing
Machine (TUE-C 400) of 100 KN capacities with 1% accuracy at ambient temperature according to the procedure described
in ASTM D 790. The test was initiated by applying the load on the specimen at the specified rate. The deflection was
measured by a gauge under the specimen in contact with it in the center of the support span.
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ISSN: 2395-0560

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Volume1, Issue 4 of April 2015
2.3. Impact Test

The impact behavior of the composite is experimentally investigated using the notched Charpy Impact test specimen. For this
purpose, Impact Testing Machine (AIT- 300 N) was used which has a maximum energy of pendulum of 300 J. The specimens
were carefully cut to the required dimensions of the impact test according to ASTM D256. The notched Charpy impact
specimen dimensions were (55*12.5 mm) having U notch of 450 with a depth of 0.5 mm prepared by milling machine. The
notch allows for a predetermined crack initiation location. The Charpy impact test method works by placing a notched
specimen (with the notch facing away from the point of contact) into a large machine with a pendulum of a known weight.
The pendulum is raised to a known height and allowed to fall. As the pendulum swings, it impacts and breaks the specimen,
rising to a measured height. A digital attachment for recording the energy absorption was used to perform the tests. The
difference in the initial and final heights is directly proportional to the amount of energy lost due to fracturing the specimen.
2.4. Wear Test
Abrasion testing is used to test the abrasive resistance of solid materials. Materials such as composites can be tested with this
method. The intent of this test method is to produce data that will rank materials in their resistance to sliding abrasion under a
specified set of conditions and can help to predict the life time of a material. Abrasive wear tests were conducted on the
composite specimen according to ASTM standards i.e. ASTM G 65. The wear tests were conducted on a pin-on-drum
abrasive wear tester, designed for standard wear tests described in ASTM standards. In this method, the test specimen
translates over the surface of an abrasive paper, which is mounted on a revolving drum, with the resulting wear of the material
expressed as volume loss. An alumina (Al2O3) abrasive which is substantially harder than either the matrix or the reinforcement was used. The specimen is continuously in contact with new abrasive surface. A static normal load, L, was applied
directly on the specimen to press it against the center of the drum that caused wear. Design of Experiments approach (DOE)
was used to conduct this test. By Taguchi method, L8 array was used containing 3 parameters and 2 levels. Load, Loading
time and Speed are the three parameters that were varied. All tests were carried out in dry ambient air laboratory conditions.

3. Results & Discussion


3.1. Tensile Test
The results obtained in the form of Load applied and change in Displacement is used to calculate the values of Stress and
Strain. A graph of Stress v/s Strain is plotted and the slope of the line of plot gives the Youngs Modulus. The results obtained
in the form of Ultimate Tensile Strength (UTS) & Youngs Modulus (E) by 3 trials for the GFRP specimen of both the GSM
values are as follows:
Composite Specimen
415 GSM
600 GSM

Ultimate Tensile Strength (MPa)


Maximum UTS = 73.33

Youngs Modulus (GPa)


Maximum E = 1.92

Average UTS = 71.11

Average E = 1.86

Maximum UTS = 113.636

Maximum E = 2.27

Average UTS = 104.54

Average E = 2.183

3.2. Bending Test


The readings obtained after the 3-point bending test on the GFRP specimen in the form of load applied & CHT is used to
calculate the Flexural strength, Flexural Modulus & Inter Laminar Shear Strength (ILSS). The results hence are as shown
below:
Composite Specimen
415 GSM
600 GSM

Average Flexural Strength


(N/mm2 )
275.5
265

Average Flexural Modulus


(GPa)
8.369
8.668

Average ILSS
(N/mm)
413.39
581.60

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ISSN: 2395-0560

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Volume1, Issue 4 of April 2015
3.3. Impact Test

The result obtained at the end of the impact test in the form of Impact Energy is used to find the Impact Strength. The Impact
Strength was plotted on a graph to conclude on the Final Average Impact Strength of both the GFRP specimens using three
trials each. The results obtained are as follows:
Composite Specimen
415 GSM
600 GSM

Impact Energy (J)


4.67
12.67
Table 3.

Impact Strength (kJ/m2)


124.48
230.30

Impact Test Results

3.4. Wear Test


The Design of Experiments (DOE) approach is used to conduct the wear test. L8 array under Taguchi method is used which
varies two levels and three parameters i.e. Load, Loading Time and Speed. The results obtained after conducting the wear test
as per Design of Experiments approach was used to calculate the Wear Velocity, Wear Volume & Wear coefficient. The
results of the tests conducted are shown below:
o

Glass/Epoxy specimen of 415 GSM:

Initial Weight
(gms)
2.9761
2.6096
2.9739
3.0520
2.7963
3.0232
2.5965
2.5009

Speed
(rpm)

Load
(kgs)

Time
(min.)

Final Weight
(gms)

Weight
(mg)

Wear Coefficient
(m2/N)

300
300
300
300
600
600
600
600

1.5
1.5
3
3
1.5
1.5
3
3

2
4
2
4
2
4
2
4

2.9742
2.6054
2.9694
3.0465
2.7933
3.0192
2.5924
2.4952

1.9
4.2
4.5
5.5
3.0
4.0
4.1
5.7

6.55 * 10-14
7.25 * 10-14
7.76 * 10-14
4.74 * 10-14
5.16 * 10-14
3.44 * 10-14
3.53 * 10-14
2.45 * 10-14

Table 4.

Wear Test Readings for 415 GSM

Glass/Epoxy specimen of 600 GSM:

Initial Weight
(gms)
5.2134
4.5458
4.5547
4.7545
5.2576
4.3962
4.4765
5.0737

Speed
(rpm)

Load
(kgs)

Time
(min.)

Final Weight
(gms)

Weight
(mg)

Wear Coefficient
(m2/N)

300
300
300
300
600
600
600
600

1.5
1.5
3
3
1.5
1.5
3
3

2
4
2
4
2
4
2
4

5.2099
4.5399
4.5510
4.7477
5.2537
4.3910
4.4723
5.0683

3.5
5.9
3.7
6.8
3.9
5.0
4.2
5.4

1.21 * 10-13
2.04 * 10-13
6.38 * 10-14
5.86 * 10-14
6.71 * 10-14
4.30 * 10-14
3.61 * 10-14
2.32 * 10-14

Table 5.

Wear Test Readings for 600 GSM

The results were then analysed using the Minitab software. Anova & Response Table for Means & Signal to Noise Ratios for
both the GFRP specimens was obtained as shown below.

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Volume1, Issue 4 of April 2015

Figure 2. Main Effects Plot for Means for 415 GSM

Figure 3. Main Effects Plot for SN ratios for 415 GSM

Figure 4. Main Effects Plot for Means for 600 GSM

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Figure 5. Main Effects Plot for SN ratios for 600 GSM

4. Conclusion
From the Tensile tests conducted on the GFRP composite specimens it can be concluded that as the GSM value of the glass
fibre in the composite increases, the tensile strength too increases for the given percentage (40: 60) of glass fibre and resin.
The 3-Point Bend Test conducted on the GFRP gave the responses in terms of Bend load and change in height (CHT)
through which the Flexural strength was calculated. The higher flexural strength for 415 GSM than 600 GSM can be due to
inclusions and voids in the microstructure of the composite specimen. Impact test conducted on the GFRP specimens
yielded results in terms of impact load that the specimens could bear before fracture. The impact energy of the composite
increases with an increase in the GSM value of the glass fibre reinforcement.
The results obtained from Wear tests were used to analyse and interpret the results using Design of Experiments (DOE)
approach and Minitab software. The results show the Mean values, Signal to Noise (SN) ratio values and the rank of the
different parameters that varied. It is observed that as the GSM values of the GFRP specimens and the load increase, the
wear observed on the specimen increases i.e. the wear resistance of the specimen decreases.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
I am greatly indebted to Prof. Nikhil R. & Prof. G. S. Guggari (I.P.E., G.I.T., Belagavi), for their guidance & unending
support throughout the course of the work. I deeply thank Dr. Shivkumar S., Professor (I.P.E., G.I.T., Belagavi), for his
guidance and also for being a great source of knowledge.
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Mr. Suhas P. Chandak (Director), Mr. Uttam S. Gurjar (Production Manager)
and supporting staff, Vega Industries Pvt, Ltd., Belagavi, for providing me with an opportunity to carry out the dissertation
work in their esteemed organization and for training/guiding me.
I would also like to express my deep gratitude to Prof. D. B. Patil, H.O.D. & all the staff members, Mechanical Engineering
Department, J.C.E., Belagavi, for being a constant source of encouragement.

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