More durable helmets, vests, ski-sticks and various other fibre-glass plastic products are close to becoming a reality. Provided, of course, the manufacturers apply new technology – the one developed by the Chernogolovka scientists supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research and the Foundation for Assistance to Small Innovative Enterprises (FASIE).
When fibre-glass plastic products were first introduced to the market, the applicability of the material seemed truly unlimited. Later there appeared quite a number of disadvantages to accompany the numerous benefits. Helmets and ski-sticks got broken and boats got cracked. The reason is quite trivial for a composite material – insufficiently strong cohesion between the base, i.e. glass fiber, and the polymer matrix. Under loads and especially in the presence of moisture, the polymer gets exfoliated from the glass fibers which results in cracking. Besides, in extreme conditions the reinforcing glass fiber itself is split into separate monofibres, thus, causing the product destruction.
Theoretically, the solution to this problem is evident: the cohesion among the reinforcing fibers and with the matrix should be strengthened. However, it is not so easily done in practice: glass as well as the polymer polyolefinic matrix are rather inert chemically, inertia being one of the most important advantages of these composites. The adhesion ability of the low-cost polymers (polyethylene, polypropylene) to be preferably used as a matrix is not high either.
Sergey Komarov | alfa
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