Monitoring water content and predicting the water-induced drop in strength of fiber-reinforced composites are of great importance for the oil and gas and marine industries. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopic methods are broadly available and often used for process and quality control in industrial applications. A benefit of using such spectroscopic methods over the conventional gravimetric analysis is the possibility to deduce the mass of an absolutely dry material and subsequently the true water content, which is an important indicator of water content-dependent properties. The objective of this study is to develop an efficient and detailed method for estimating the water content in epoxy resins and fiber-reinforced composites. In this study, Fourier transform near-infrared (FT-NIR) spectroscopy was applied to measure the water content of amine-epoxy neat resin. The method was developed and successfully extended to glass fiber-reinforced composite materials. Based on extensive measurements of neat resin and composite samples of varying water content and thickness, regression was performed, and the quantitative absorbance dependence on water content in the material was established. The mass of an absolutely dry resin was identified, and the true water content was obtained. The method was related to the Beer–Lambert law and explained in such terms. A detailed spectroscopic method for measuring water content in resins and fiber-reinforced composites was developed and described.
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