This thesis first reviews, and then evaluates, the importance of fibre/matrix interfacial
bonding in determining composite properties with particular reference to
unidirectional E-glass reinforced vinyl ester systems.
The potential of various non-destructive evaluation (NDE) techniques for determining
the correlation between fibre treatment and bulk composite properties (such as
interlaminar shear strength and tensile strength etc.) are described in detail. Acoustic
Emission (AE) in particular is demonstrated to be useful in studying the process of
damage during the mechanical tests. Some samples are also examined by optical and
scanning electron microscopy, dynamic mechanical analysis, and by a new and novel
technique known as Sound Image Analysis (SIA) which allows the total spectrum of
crack sound output to be analysed.
Overall it has been established that the NDE techniques used can distinguish between
different levels of interfacial bond strength and that AE can follow the progressive
changes in fracture mode that follow from fibre surface treatment variations.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.