World Journal of Engineering and Technology, 2013, 1, 59-64
Published Online November 2013 (
Open Access WJET
Usability of Polymer Concrete as a Machine-Making
Material Regarding Fatigue Strength
Ergun Ateş, Mahmut Nedim Gerger
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, Balıkesir University, Balıkesir, Turkey.
Received September 24th, 2013; revised October 18th, 2013; accepted October 25th, 2013
Copyright © 2013 Ergun Ateş, Mahmut Nedim Gerger. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attri-
bution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly
In many studies conducted on polymer concretes of different structures, some of the mechanical behaviours such as
compression, bending, damping, and fatigue have been investigated. Specimens and experimental taxonomy used in the
majority of these studies explore the idea of using polymer concrete either as a construction material or as a material for
building the body of machine tools. The experimental methodology and specimens used in this study to investigate the
fatigue strength were chosen according to the machine-making material. In “rotational flexural fatigue” experiments
conducted using high compressive strength composite materials, fatigue strength values were observed to be lower than
previous studies.
Keywords: Fatigue; Composite; Epoxy; Polymer Matrix
1. Introduction
Polymer concrete (PC) is a composite material that is
obtained by mixing a filler material such as sand, marble,
quartz, pearlite, glass, fibre, dolomite, steel, or carbon
fibres with a resin such as unsaturated polyester, poly-
methylmethacrylate, or epoxy, and by adding a catalyst
or accelerant at room temperature that allows toughening
through polymerization. As a different type of cement
concrete, polymer concrete is used in the construction
industry as a material of construction in cover materials,
water channels, spillways, prefabricated construction ma-
terial, and also in the machine industry as a material for
machine tool bodies, gearboxes, and pump bodies. Many
disadvantages over metallic materials (especially cast
iron), such as high dampening capacity, lightness, resis-
tance to corrosion and chemicals, and relative ease of
manufacturing made it a favourable manufacturing mate-
rial and attracted the attention of many researchers.
Krause, J. et al.: They determined in their studies that
if gearbox bodies were made of polymer concrete, vibra-
tions would decrease [1]. Schulz, H.: In his study, he de-
termined that the ultimate fatigue strength would be 5
N/mm2 when he examined fatigue characteristics using
filler material of quartz with a particle size of 0 - 8 mm
and 7% epoxy for resin as weight ratio [2]. Nicklau,
R.G.: His study investigated the modulus of elasticity
and compressive strength change rate as well as damping,
elongation, and flexure fatigue strength values of poly-
mer concrete with methacrylate resin. He calculated the
continuous tensile strength of methacrylate resin polymer
concrete under vibration strain as 5 N/mm2 [3]. Dey, H.
J.: In his experiments, he studied the fracture and shape
change of polymer concrete using three different resins
and discovered that polymer concrete made with epoxy
resin had the best vales [4]. Sahm, D.: In his study, the
creep phenomenon and other mechanical properties of
polymer concrete as body construction material were in-
vestigated and maximum values for compressive, tensile,
and flexural strength were obtained using 10% epoxy
resin, which had 8-mm particle size, by weight [5]. Re-
beiz, K. et al.: They investigated elastic behaviour and
other mechanical properties of polymer concrete and
polymer mortars, and determined that using PET in
polymer concrete helps to resolve solidification problems
[6]. Gupta, K. et al.: In this paper, the use of nitinol
[shape memory alloy (SMA)] wires in the fibre rein-
forced composite shaft (made of fibre glass and epoxy
resin), for the purpose of modifying shaft stiffness prop-
erties to avoid such failures, is discussed. The compari-
son of the experimental results with the established ana-
Usability of Polymer Concrete as a Machine-Making Material Regarding Fatigue Strength
lytical results indicates feasibility of vibration control
using the special properties of SMA wires [7]. Cheng
T.H. et al.: The paper describes a structural stability
analysis of fibre reinforced 10 kW composite laminate
(made of the E-glass/epoxy orthotropic) wind turbine
blades by using finite element method. The modal prop-
erties of the wind blade were investigated, including the
natural frequency, mode sharps, and the centrifugal effect.
The results of the nonlinear analysis of displacement and
stress show much lower than the linear analysis, because
of the geometry nonlinear effect [8]. Burks, B. et al.: The
fatigue properties of a unidirectional carbon/glass/epoxy
hybrid composite used as the load bearing member of the
next generation high voltage transmission lines were
evaluated. It was found that the composite showed a
strong sensitivity to the amount of transverse loading
when tested using the rotating beam method. It was also
found that the composite exhibited a period of “wear-in”
behaviour in which the composites’ axial modulus in-
creased substantially. This increase was attributed to a
change in the alignment of the reinforcing fibres under
the influence of an applied load [9]. Hedia, H.S. et al.:
The aim of this research is to investigate experimentally
the effect of nanocomposite coating on the fatigue life of
carbon steel AISI 1045 specimens with different surface
finishes. Fatigue tests are conducted on the respective
specimens by a rotating bending machine of the cantile-
ver type. Comparing the results for specimens coated
with 0.5 wt% MWCNT-epoxy compositions with the
base materials it is found that fatigue life increased five
times for a roughness of 0.3 mμ/m and three times for an
average specimen roughness of 0.8, 1.6 and 2.5 mμ/m,
respectively [10].
In most of the theoretical and experimental studies
mentioned above, the specimens and experimental
methodology used in determining the mechanical proper-
ties of polymer concrete are usually based on the as-
sumption of using polymer concrete in the construction
and machine industries.
One of the most important phases of designing each
and every element of a machine is selecting the best ma-
terial. The best material is defined as the most suitable
material that can best resist the physical and chemical
conditions of the operation site. While metallic materials
are still the primary choice for manufacturing machine
parts, plastic and composite materials have an increasing
rate of use as an alternative to the metallic materials. One
advancement in this direction is the use of polymer con-
crete as an alternative to cast iron in manufacturing ma-
chine bodies. The characteristic values of different types
of polymer concretes and cast iron are given in Table 1.
Polymer concrete is suitable for this manufacturing pro-
cess regarding many properties [4].
In most of the abovementioned studies, the properties
Table 1. Some characteristic values of polymer concrete and
cast iron.
Properties Polymer concreteCast iron
Elasticity Modulus, kN/mm2 30 - 40 80 - 130
Poisson rate 0.2 0.3
Compression strength, N/mm2 100 - 160 700 - 1200
Bend strength, N/mm2 25 - 35 300 - 600
Tensile strength, N/mm2 12 - 18 150 - 400
Damping 6 - 8 1
Thermal elongation constant, m/mK 17 * 106 11 * 106
Heat transmission coefficient, kj/mhK
6.8 210
of polymer concrete regarding this aim were investigated
or attempted to be improved. The essential properties are
compressive, flexural, and damping strength values.
These properties depend on resin, filler material type and
its amount, as well as temperature, hardening time, and
structural void ratio. Furthermore, machine elements are
subjected to variable stresses in most companies. Metal-
lic materials, which are strained under variable stresses,
fail due to the widening of hairline cracks that are either
pre-existing or formed within their elastic region. In this
situation, known as fatigue, materials deform under their
limit static strength. Even though systematic and theo-
retical approaches of experiments that are designed for
metallic materials are sufficient to explain fatigue, they
cannot provide accurate data in order to solve problems
that emerge in design engineering.
The fatigue behaviour of non-metallic materials that
are used as machine elements is far more complex. Het-
erogeneous structures may render the formation of a
theoretical model and explaining the hairline crack for-
mation virtually impossible. In obtaining the crack, dent,
voids, particle size, phase distribution, fatigue strength of
these materials, usage of the machine itself or its model
instead of standard testing equipment, special tools, and
simulating operation conditions may provide more reli-
able results. The fatigue strength of polymer concrete in
the literature is obtained by experiments that consider the
polymer concrete as a construction material. In this paper,
polymer concrete composites with epoxy resin were tes-
ted by using the same fatigue equipment for metallic
materials and an attempt was made to determine fatigue
2. Experimental Study
It is known that polymer concrete can be formed by us-
ing many different mixtures and its properties vary de-
pending on this mixture. Materials to be used are selected
as follows, according to studies conducted in this area.
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Usability of Polymer Concrete as a Machine-Making Material Regarding Fatigue Strength 61
Binder Choice: The literature review revealed that
even though it has a price disadvantage, “epoxy resin”
provides the best structural results in polymer concrete.
In this study, epoxy resin was also used as the binder
material. In short, epoxy resin is a thermoset composite,
which has a liquid state at room temperature and hardens
with the help of a hardening agent (polyaminoamide).
Filler Material: When polymer concrete studies are
reviewed, it is seen that if epoxy resin is used in the mix-
ture, quartz is recommended as the filler material. Quartz
(SiO2) was used in this study. Quartz is a very tough ma-
terial, which has a specific mass of 2.5 - 2.9 g/cm3 and is
thermally stable up to 1610˚C [11].
Filler Material Particle Size and Distribution: Par-
ticle size distribution of aggregates is determined using a
method called granulemetry composition determination.
Aggregates for filler material are classified according to
their particle size conditions within the upper and lower
limits for every particle size using standard size sieves. It
is observed that particle sizes ranging from 16 mm to 2
mm were used for different polymer concrete applica-
tions. Therefore, the EN-12620 standard was taken as the
basis for “8 mm maximum aggregate particle size” [12].
Accordingly, %—passing values for each standard sieve
were determined for aggregates according to granuleme-
try curves that denote seven different composition groups
(Table 2) [13,14].
Specimen Sizes: The determination of fatigue proper-
ties of polymer concrete as a comparison with metallic
materials is only possible by using same-sized specimens.
However, due to the particle sizes used and the structure
to be formed, it is not possible to use small standard spe-
cimens as it is with metal specimens. In previous studies,
40 × 40 × 160 mm specimens and 4-point flexural strain
experimental method was used as it is described in
DIN51290-3 [15] and DIN-1045 [16], respectively. In
the rotational flexural stress fatigue experiment, 40 × 100
mm specimens for 8 mm particle size were used as was
recommended in ISO-4012 [17]. These sizes of speci-
Table 2. The percentage values of seven groups passing
down the sieve by the purpose of using them in experimen-
tal study.
Sieve numbers
8 100 100 100 100 100 100 100
4 52 61 67.574 79.5 85 92
2 28 36 46.554 64.5 72 79
1 12 21 31.542 49.5 57 66
0.5 5 12 19 26 32.5 39 46
0.25 2 5 8 11 16 21 28
mens stretch up to connection points, and specimens and
cast specimens used with the point can be seen in Figure
Binder and Filler Material Amounts: It is denoted
that compressive and flexural strengths are high when
12% - 17% binder material is used in a polymer concrete,
where the binder material is epoxy resin and its hardener
and the filler material is quartz (Figure 2) [18,19]. Com-
pression tests for filler material’s given particle sizes
were made with three different binder ratios, i.e. 14.3%,
18%, and 22%, and the distribution can be seen in Fig-
ure 3 [13,14].
Figure 1. The samples of fatigue experiment.
Compresion Flexural
0 4 8 12 16 20
% Binding
Polymer concrete strength
Strength, N/mm
Figure 2. Polymer concrete compressive and flexural
strength change.
Polymer concrete compressive strength
Strength, N/mm
18 20 22
% Binding
Figure 3. Polymer concrete compressive strength.
Open Access WJET
Usability of Polymer Concrete as a Machine-Making Material Regarding Fatigue Strength
Experimental Methodology: Stresses that are applied
to the elements can vary in intensity and direction under
normal operating conditions. The equipment used in the
fatigue test was grouped according to the stresses that
were applied. Since the aim was to determine the usabil-
ity of polymer concrete as a machine-making material
and its fatigue properties, a “rotating flexural stress fa-
tigue testing machine”, which is used for metallic mate-
rials, was used [20] (Table 3). The equipment manufac-
tured for fatigue tests of epoxy resin-composite materials
is given in Figure 4.
3. Results and Discussion
Considering the fact that fatigue tests are very long and
extensive research is being conducted on the usability of
polymer concrete as a machine tool body material, rather
than testing all resin values, 18% resin specimens, of
which compressive strength is the highest, were prepared
Table 3. The characteristics of bending, fatigue experiment
Mark Amsler bending, fatigue experiment device
Type BE 133
Dimensions 600 × 820 × 1350 cm
Net weight/Brut weight 370/450 kg
Maximum weight 52 kg
Number of cycles 3000/2000/1000 rev/min
Electric motor power 1/2 PS
Cycle counter 1 rpm/100 rpm (work piece)
Applications Normally, all of the standard metal samples
have been influenced by heat or corrosion
Firm Alfred J. Amsler & Co.
Figure 4. The bending, fatigue experiment device.
as composite materials. An attempt was made to deter-
mine the fatigue strength of polymer concrete by using a
unique experimental methodology, which was previously
used for metallic materials. “Stress-load repetition val-
ues”, where all groups are denoted, can be found in Fig-
ure 5. It was denoted that specified groups G4, G5 and
especially G6 exceeded 107 number of loadings even
under a stress of 1.6 N/mm2. Therefore, the order re-
garding fatigue strengths happens to be G6, G5, and G4.
According to the results, particle filler materials were
not useful for fatigue strength. Different filler materials
can be used to increase of the fatigue strength. There
were many studies in literature about to used fibre mate-
rials for fatigue tests. Especially, fibre materials have
been choosing. Particle quartz composites have been
produced as a homogeneous inner structure distribution.
But, this was not enough to a good rotational flexural
fatigue strength. To be homogeneous of inner structure of
particle quartz had been a very good result for compres-
sion strength. Also, flexural strength has remained quite
low level too. The epoxy resin binder was not a problem
here. The weak bonds between the particles of quartz
was a main reason to low fatigue strength. Composite
structure must be strong gravitational force between
grains. Observed in the experimental studies, the elastic,
solid and continuously filler element could be an ideal
reinforced materials for fatigue strength of composite
4. Conclusions
When the obtained test results are compared with me-
tallic materials, it is observed that polymer concrete
has a much lower fatigue strength.
Similar to other composite materials, when the stress
level decreases, the loading cycle number before fail-
ure increases.
It is not possible to mention a continuous strength
range for epoxy resin and quartz filled composite
materials. However, it can be said that the fatigue
strength limit is between 1 - 1.6 N/mm2, which corre-
sponds to 107 loading cycles.
Since the fatigue strength of polymer concrete, which
was prepared with epoxy resin and quartz filler mate-
rial, is very low, it can be said that polymer concrete
is not suitable for manufacturing machine elements,
where a high fatigue strength is required.
It is determined that mechanical and damping proper-
ties of polymer concrete are related to the amount of
used binder and filler materials, particle size of filler
material, and different particle size distributions.
Since a homogeneous structure cannot be achieved in
composite materials where a filler material is used,
high deviations in the strength values are observed.
Therefore, it can be said that the strength of polymer
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Usability of Polymer Concrete as a Machine-Making Material Regarding Fatigue Strength
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Stress, N/mm
10,000 100,000 1,000,000 10,000,000 100,000,000
Cycles, N
Figure 5. The results of fatigue tests for polymer concrete samples.
concrete depends on many parameters.
Different structures that are obtained by using differ-
ent resins and filler materials exhibit different proper-
In order to obtain a suitable composite material,
which can accommodate the conditions and require-
ments of the application field, it is imperative that the
parameters on which the properties of the polymer
concrete depend are thoroughly investigated and ex-
perimented within a broad scale.
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