Wear Performance Forecasting of Chopped Fiber–Reinforced Polymer Composites: A New Approach Using Dimensional Analysis

Solid particle erosion of polymer matrix composites is a complex process in which wear occurs from the target surface by impingement of rigid sand particles in an air medium. The rate of material removal (RMR), also referred to as the erosion rate, mainly depends on target material parameters and the erosion conditions such as impact angle, impact velocity, and erodent size. A new semi-empirical model for prediction of the erosion rate of polymer matrix composites has been developed using a dimensional analysis technique based on Buckingham's π theorem. The predictive model analytically rests upon parameters related to chopped glass fiber composites, erodent (target material properties), and operating variables that mainly affect the erosion process of chopped glass fiber–vinyl ester resin composites. The forecasting ability of the predictive model has been assessed and verified by experimental investigations for chopped glass fiber–reinforced vinyl ester resin (VGF) composites. Validation of the theoretical erosion rates obtained from the predictive model showed that they were in good agreement with the experimentally determined erosion rates, where the average error range was estimated to be ∼10 to ∼20%.