Unsaturated polyester composite reinforced with Caroá fiber (Neoglaziovia Variegate): water sorption and mechanical properties

<div><p>ABSTRACT Aiming to minimize the environmental pollution and reducing the production costs of the composite materials, the use of plant fibers improves their physical and mechanical properties. On the other hand, fibers have high water absorption, which may increase their volume and weaken the fiber/matrix interaction, affecting the mechanical features of the composites. Concerned with this problem, this research had the objective of making 3 and 10 millimeter-thick specimens, containing 23% (m/m) of Caroa fibers and 73% (m/m) of unsaturated polyester. Samples were withdrawn after 0, 2, 4, 7, 12 and 21 days of exposure at room temperature water (ASTM D570 − 98). Then, the test of tensile (ASTM D 3039), flexural (ASTM D 790-03) and impact (ASTM D 256) was realized and the mechanical properties were analyzed. The samples subjected to humidity had their fibers degraded and presented loss of mechanical properties, more significant in composite with 3 mm. For example, the reduction of the strengths tensile, after 21 days of test were 80% for composites with 3 mm and 60% for composites with 10 mm. Studies like this are important for long-term applications of such composites in humid environments.</p></div>