Investigating the mechanical properties of glass reinforced polymer as material for solar hot water tanks in coastal areas
Abstract: Over the years solar water heater storage tanks have been made of galvanized steel or coated with enamel to prevent rusting due to corrosion. Current designs and fabrications of solar heater storage tanks do not last long due to corrosion of the tanks accelerated by high temperatures and saline water they handle at the coastal regions. The objective of this research was to investigate the performance of Glass Reinforced Plastic as a material for the tanks in the saline coastal waters. The research was done from June 2012 to April 2014 in a laboratory setup by looking at the effect on the physical and mechanical properties due to heat, water and saline solution diffusion, on the Glass Reinforced Plastic as well as the physical failures due to hygrothermic and ultraviolet radiation influence. The composite of Isophthalic and Orthophthalic polyester resin matrix together with woven and chopped strands powder mat of 450g/m2 E-Glass fibers were used in the study. Strips of the composite sheet samples were exposed to ultraviolet radiation, hygrothermic, and saline conditions by varying the intensity of each parameter. Ultraviolet lamp chamber was used for detecting ultraviolet radiation effects while the strength, viscoelastic response and thermal loading properties were evaluated through Universal Test Machine. The tensile strength decreased as temperature increases while the ultraviolet radiation exposure effect was insignificant. Isopolyester had higher strength under pressure than orthopolyester due to its stronger chemical properties. It was envisaged that polyester resin E-glass composite performed better than galvanized steel as solar hot water tank material. The result showed that Glass Reinforced Polyester can be used for saline hot water storage tanks and perform better.