A cavitation testing facility was used to study the cavitation erosion behavior of three
fiber glass reinforced epoxy, vinyl ester and phenolic in sea and formation waters. The
cavitation tests were made at a frequency of 20 KHz as per ASTM-G30-90 and at temperatures
of 250C and 500C. Cavitation increased the rate of mass loss of these three fiber glass
reinforced plastics by several orders of magnitude with respect to stagnant conditions.
Cavitation made the surface of these three fiber glass reinforced plastics to appear very rough,
exhibiting large cavity pit in the region of the attacked area as revealed by the scanning electron
microscope (SEM). The main mechanisms of failure for the three systems were due to loss of
adhesion of the matrix / fiber glass interface and subsequent removal of the resin as well as
glass fibers by the mechanical action of cavitation or erosion. Mechanical factors and surface
defects were determined to be the leading cause of resin and glass fiber loss.
Keywords: Cavitation, epoxy, vinyl ester, phenolic, seawater, formation water