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The results of an experimental investigation of the durability of inorganic matrix–carbon composites are reported. The matrix, which can sustain temperatures up to 1000°C, is being evaluated for applications that require fire resistance, such as the interior of aircraft. The original matrix formulation, which had a high ratio of silica to alumina, was found to weaken when subjected to wet–dry cycles. Preliminary tests indicated that an efficient way to increase water-stability was to increase the amount of alumina in the matrix. Therefore, a systematic evaluation was carried out to obtain the optimum silica/alumina ratio for improving stability of composites in water. In-plane shear strengths were used as an indicator of strength retention after the specimens were subjected to 50 wet–dry cycles. The results indicate that silica/alumina ratio between 18 and 20 provide the best results. In this range, strength loss is negligible.

This paper was originally published in Composites: Part B 31 (2000) Pages 107-111

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