Modelling cyclic moisture uptake in an epoxy adhesive

This paper presents a methodology for predicting moisture concentration in an epoxy adhesive under cyclic moisture absorption-desorption conditions. The diffusion characteristics of the adhesive were determined by gravimetric experiments under cyclic moisture conditions and the dependence of diffusion coefficient and saturated mass uptake on moisture history was determined. Non-Fickian moisture absorption was observed during absorption cycles while moisture desorption remained Fickian. The diffusion coefficient and saturated moisture content showed variation with absorption-desorption cycling. A finite element-based methodology incorporating moisture history was developed to predict the cyclic moisture concentration. A comparison is made between the new modelling methodology and a similar method that neglects the moisture history dependence. It was seen that the concentration predictions based on non-history dependent diffusion characteristics resulted in over-prediction of the moisture concentration in cyclic conditioning of adhesive joints. The proposed method serves as the first step in the formulation of a general methodology to predict the moisture dependent degradation and failure in adhesives.