How Chemical Resistant are Composite Materials?
A surprising number of applications where composites are used involve occasional or prolonged contact with chemicals. These chemicals can be anything from cleaning agents, acids, alkalis, fuels, hydraulic and brake fluids, de-icers, paint strippers, lubricants, etching chemicals, flue gases and event food and drink.
The resistance of composites to highly reactive chemicals is generally very good, which in turn explains their widespread use in the chemical process equipment industry where it is often difficult to find any other affordable, processable materials capable of withstanding the very harsh conditions.
It is rare for composite components to be attacked as rapidly as some common metals are when placed in contact with acids. A few chemicals that are handled in chemical factories, such as powerful oxidising agents, strong caustic alkalis, bromine and wet chlorine still pose severe problems for general purpose organic matrix resins.
Otherwise, the well-informed selection of materials, in consultation with the suppliers and after reference to the relevant data banks, means that the chemical resistance of composite materials can be tailored to requirements.