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Mechanical and Thermal Properties of Carbon/Epoxy Nanoclay Composites Exposed to Synergistic Effect UV Radiation and Condensation

The use of Fiber Reinforced Polymer Composites (FRPC) has gained a lot of traction due to the high stiffness, corrosion resistance, light weight and high fatigue performance they offer compared to some metals, and metal alloys. However, polymeric materials responses to harsh environmental conditions have been one of the major concerns during its usage in engineering applications, because of their viscoelastic nature. Addition of small amounts of nanoclay has shown to improve most of the properties of these polymeric composites. These polymeric composites once exposed to UV radiation absorb the UV rays which in turn initiate photo-oxidation reaction in the matrix leading to formation of radical chemical groups. Degradation mechanisms have shown that energy of UV photons is high enough to dissociate the bonds in polymers and subsequent absorption of moisture becomes easy through the cracks. This leads to thermo-physical, mechanical and chemical changes and deterioration of material properties. Moisture absorption on the other hand depends on a variety of factors such as temperature, strength of the interfacial bonds between the fibers and the matrix, and flaws such as voids and fiber orientation during processing. Hence, the objective is to study the effect of nanoclay on the mechanical and thermal properties of carbon/epoxy nanocomposites subjected to UV radiation and condensation.