Modelling of Concentration Dependent Moisture Diffusion in Hybrid Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Composites


Hybrid fibre-reinforced polymer composites have extensive applications due to their high strength, cost effectiveness, improved product performance, low maintenance and design flexibility. However, moisture absorbed by composite components plays a detrimental role in both the integrity and durability of hybrid structure because it can degrade the mechanical properties and induce interfacial delamination failures. In this study, the moisture diffusion characteristics in two-phase hybrid composites using moisture concentration-dependent diffusion method have been investigated. The two phases are unidirectional S-glass fibre-reinforced epoxy matrix and unidirectional graphite fibre-reinforced epoxy matrix. In the moisture concentration-dependent diffusion method, the diffusion coefficients are not only dependent on the environmental temperature but also dependent on the nodal moisture concentration due to the internal swelling stress built during the diffusion process. A user-defined subroutine was developed to implement this method into commercial finite element code. Three-dimensional finite element models were developed to investigate the moisture diffusion in hybrid composites. A normalization approach was also integrated in the model to remove the moisture concentration discontinuity at the interface of different material components. The moisture diffusion in the three-layer hybrid composite exposed to 45°C/84% relative humidity for 70 days was simulated and validated by comparing the simulation results with experimental findings. The developed model was extended to simulate the moisture diffusion behaviour in an adhesive-bonded four-layer thick hybrid composite exposed to 45°C/84% relative humidity for 1.5 years. The results indicated that thin adhesive layers (0.12-mm thick) did not significantly affect the overall moisture uptake as compared with thick adhesive layers (0.76-mm thick).


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2015 SAGE Publications, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Feb 2015