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Keywords:

  • composites;
  • rheology;
  • thermosets;
  • viscosity and viscoelasticity

ABSTRACT

We present an experimental study on the rheological properties of a commonly used epoxy resin system (EPIKOTE-862 resin and EPIKURE-W curing agent), exposed to a variety of fluids typical of aerospace operations (jet fuel, hydraulic fluids, deicing, detergents, etc.), for a period of up to 6 months, at room temperature for most conditions, and with no concurrent mechanical loading or prior degradation. The specimens were subjected to stress and frequency sweeps with a shear rheometer, while a limited set received also a temperature sweep in a range consistent with aircraft operations. Results indicate that the treated resin samples are linear viscoelastic under these testing conditions. The resin has reasonable chemical resistance to most contaminants of this study, with the exception of two commonly used detergents: an aircraft surface cleaning compound, Penair C5572, and a nonionic detergent, Methyl Ethyl Ketone (MEK). The durability change of the first compound appears triggered by high temperatures only, while the second compound causes a very drastic stiffness loss under several conditions. This drop of performance occurs within a 3-months period, with no apparent color change or fracture that could prompt visual inspection and repair. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 130: 3961–3971, 2013