AUG 2016


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AUGUST 2016 26 CompositesWorld Fine-tuning fiberglass: Smart fiber sizing Some insights into those proprietary chemistries that can customize performance at the fiber/ resin interface. » In the composites industry, fiber is a significant topic of conversation. Fiber sizing rarely gets a mention. It is difficult, however, to overstate sizing's importance. Without it, the fiber could quickly begin to fray during handling and processing (see Fig. 1, this page), and would resist bonding with the matrix resin. In addition, sizing is credited with improving mechanical properties, such as tensile strength and resistance to impact, fatigue and chemi- cals, and promoting thermal stability and hydrolytic stability and more. e biggest sizing consumers are glass fiber manufacturers. Worldwide annual production of fiberglass composite materials is nearly 9.07 million MT, and fiberglass accounts for some 95% of all fiber reinforcements processed by the composites industry, according to Prof. James L. omason, University of Strathclyde (Glasgow, Scotland, UK). One of the largest glass fiber manufacturers in the world is PPG Industries (Shelby, NC, US). It uses silica (SiO 2 ) sand and other selected raw materials co-melted in a 1450°C furnace and directed through forming bushings that shape glass fibers (see Learn More, p. 30). e fiber sizing is applied immedi- ately after the filament exits the bushing. "We're applying our coating that's about 100 nm thick to a cylindrical surface that's around 10-20µ in diameter, By Donna Dawson / Senior Writer Emeritus Fig. 1 Proprietary, but key to performance A variety of fiberglass products (above, right) are sized for composites production. The sizing protects fiber from fraying/breaking during handling at initial manufacture (above left) and during downstream processing, such as weaving, and it ensures adhesion at the critical fiber/resin interface. Source | Owens Corning

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