Monitoring fungal degradation of E-glass/phenolic fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composites used in wood reinforcement
Publication Name: International biodeterioration & biodegradation
The susceptibility of E-glass fiber reinforced polymer (FRP)/phenolic pultruded composite plates to fungal degradation was examined. Interlaminar shear strength (ILSS) by short-beam testing and ultrasonic non-destructive evaluation (NDE) techniques were applied to monitor fungal degradation of E-glass fiber reinforced polymer composites. Since the FRP material was designed for use as reinforcement with wood, the FRP material was exposed to two common wood decay fungi, a brown rot fungus and a white rot fungus. Light and scanning electron microscopy indicated that both wood decay fungi actively grew and penetrated into the FRP material, especially in high-void content areas. The reduction in apparent ILSS of the brown rot-exposed FRP material was not statistically significant at a 95% confident level. A weak relationship between decay exposure and ILLS strength loss, however, was observed. The experimental results indicate that both mechanical property evaluation techniques (ILSS and NDE) may be sensitive enough to detect the effects of fungal degradation in FRP materials.