Effects of physical aging on long term creep of polymers and polymer matrix composites

L. Catherine Brinson*, Tom S. Gates

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

147 Scopus citations


For many polymeric materials in use below the glass transition temperature, the long term viscoelastic behavior is greatly affected by physical aging. To use polymer matrix composites as critical structural components in existing and novel technological applications, this long term behavior of the material system must be understood. Towards that end, this study applied the concepts governing the mechanics of physical aging in a consistent manner to the study of laminated composite systems. Even in fiber dominated lay-ups, the effects of physical aging are found to be important in the long term behavior of the composite. This paper first lays out, in a self-consistent manner, the basic concepts describing physical aging of polymers. Several aspects of physical aging which have not been previously documented are also explored in this study, namely the effects of aging into effective equilibrium and a relationship to the time-temperature shift factor. The physical aging theory is then extended to develop the long term compliance/modulus of a single lamina with varying fiber orientation. The latter is then built into classical lamination theory to predict long time response of general laminated composites. Comparison to experimental data is excellent. In the investigation of fiber oriented lamina and laminates, it is illustrated that the long term response can be counter-intuitive, stressing the need for consistent modeling efforts to make long term predictions of laminates to be used in structural situations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)827-846
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Solids and Structures
Issue number6-7
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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