This article presents an investigation on the durability of different glass-fibre-reinforced polymer composites when subjected to harsh outdoor conditions, including freeze/thaw cycles, ultraviolet radiation and moisture, as well as when used with seawater sea-sand concrete for construction applications. To achieve this, the effects of a number of parameters, including the environment of exposure, exposure time, profile cross-sectional configuration and orientation of fibres, on the mechanical properties of different glass-fibre-reinforced polymer composites were studied. To investigate the degradation of the mechanical properties, three-point bending, compression and tension tests were conducted on both reference and conditioned samples. Moreover, scanning electron microscopy analyses were performed to examine the contribution of microstructural deterioration to the damage mechanisms of the conditioned composites. Finally, the test results were used to develop empirical regression models to predict the level of retention of mechanical properties of different composites under different environmental conditions. The findings showed the maximum flexural, compressive and tensile strength reductions to be 35%, 48% and 37%, respectively, with regards to the pultruded profiles exposed for 3000 h to freeze/thaw cycles followed by 90 days of seawater sea-sand concrete immersion, while the flexural strength reductions recorded for the vacuum-infused samples subjected to 2000 h of freeze/thaw cycles followed by 90 days of seawater sea-sand concrete immersion were 28%, 72% and 56% for the unidirectional, woven and chopped strand mat laminates, respectively.
- freeze/thaw cycles
- glass-fibre-reinforced polymer
- seawater sea-sand concrete
- ultraviolet and moisture cycles