Journal of Reinforced Plastics and Composites

Published by SAGE Publications
Online ISSN: 0731-6844
Publications
Article
It is shown that the Zhurkov method for testing the strength of solids can be applied to dynamic tension and to cyclic loading and provides a viable approach to accelerated testing of composites. Data from the literature are used to demonstrate a straightforward application of the method to dynamic tension of glass fiber and cyclic loading for glass/polymer, metal matrix, and graphite/epoxy composites. Zhurkov's equation can be used at relatively high loads to obtain failure times at any temperature of interest. By taking a few data points at one or two other temperatures the spectrum of failure times can be expanded to temperatures not easily accessible.
 
Article
The present day aerospace vehicles are becoming lighter and more flexible and are subjected to different kinds of longitudinal forces, namely thermal and pulsating inertial loads. While designing such structures, parametric instability plays a very important role. In the present work, a study is undertaken to understand the parametric instability behavior of laminated composite plates integrated with active piezoelectric layers used for feedback damping. An eight-noded isoparametric finite element model has been developed with structural and electrical degrees as degree of freedom and coded in FORTRAN to obtain the stiffness, mass, and the feedback damping matrices. The resulting Mathieu—Hill equation is then solved using the strained parameter method. Results for different geometry and fiber orientation are obtained and presented.
 
Article
The in-orbit assembly of structural elements is presently addressed by means of a continuum-based theory of active-adhesion contact/impact which assumes the manufacturability of active adhesion elements by piezoelectric (and similarly behaving) materials. Block bonding characteristics can furnish an effective alternative to optimal control-based, impact surge force-mitigation strategies, especially in the numerous nonsmooth control problems that are difficult to synthesize and implement. Attention is given to design concepts employing combined serial/parallel-bonded active adhesion elements composed of cascaded piezoelectric devices.
 
Article
The effect of high temperature curing on the interface between unsized or epoxy-sized graphite fiber tow and epoxy-amine resin was examined by scanning electron microscopy of compression and freeze fractured specimens. Little or no adhesion was found between the unsized graphite fiber tows and the epoxy-amine resin on curing at 165 C for 17 hrs. Epoxy-sized graphite fibers showed a similar lack of adhesion between the fiber tows and the epoxy-amine resin at 3 and 17 hr cures, although good penetration of the resin into the sized fiber tows had occurred. Interfacial bond strengths for the composites could not be effectively measured by compression fracture of specimens.
 
Article
This report contains the study of Low Velocity Transverse Impact Damage of graphite-epoxy T300/5208 composite laminates. The specimen, 100 mm diameter clamped plates, were impact damaged by a cantilever-type instrumented 1-inch diameter steel ball. Study was limited to impact velocity 6 m/sec. Rectangular strips, 50 mm x 125 mm, were cut from the impact-damage specimens so that the impact damage zone was in the center of the strips. These strips were tested in tension to ob tain their residual strength. An energy dissipation model was developed to predict the residual strength from fracture mechanics concepts. Net energy absorbed I a was evaluated from coefficient of restitution concepts based on shear dominated theory of fiber-reinforced materials, with the modification that during loading and unloading the shear deformation are respectively elastic-plastic and elastic. Delamination energy I d was predicted by assum ing that the stiffness of the laminate dropped due to debonding. Fiber-breakage energy, assumed to be equal to the difference of I a and I d , was used to determine the residual strength. Predictions were compared with test results.
 
Article
Graphite-epoxy beams were subjected to an eccentric axial impact load in a drop tower test fixture in order to study their large displacement flexural behavior. The time history of the transient axial load exhibited a large magnitude occurring just after impact, which was many times greater than the static failure load. The damage caused by this peak dynamic load was measured by the reduction in energy absorption of the impacted beam relative to a virgin beam in static tests. For the thirty-ply specimens, the amount of damage increased with increasing axial stiffness.
 
Article
Beam theory is widely used as a first approximation in numerous structural applications. When applied to composite beams, the accuracy of beam theory becomes questionable because (1) the shearing and warping deformations become significant, as the shearing stiffness of composite laminates is often very low, and (2) several elastic couplings can occur that strongly influence the behavior of composite beams. The torsional behavior of thin-walled composite beams has important implications for aeronautical structures and is deeply modified by the above nonclassical effects. This paper presents two comprehensive analysis methodologies for composite beams and describes experimental results obtained from a thin-walled, rectangular cross-sectional beam. The theoretical predictions are found in good agreement with the observed twist and strain distributions. Out-of-plane torsional warping of the cross-section is found to be the key factor for an accurate modeling of the torsional behavior of such structures.
 
Article
A new layerwise trigonometric shear deformation theory for the analysis of two-layered cross-ply laminated beams is presented. The number of primary variables in this theory is even less than that of first-order shear deformation theory, and moreover, it obviates the need for a shear correction factor. The sinusoidal function in terms of thickness coordinate is used in the displacement field to account for shear deformation. The novel feature of the theory is that the transverse shear stress can be obtained directly from the use of constitutive relationships, satisfying the shear-stress-free boundary conditions at top and bottom of the beam and satisfying continuity of shear stress at the interface. The principle of virtual work is used to obtain the governing equations and boundary conditions of the theory. The effectiveness of the theory is demonstrated by applying it to a two-layered cross-ply laminated beam.
 
Article
The effect of isolated damage modes on the compressive strength and failure characteristics of laminated composite test specimens were evaluated experimentally and numerically. In addition to specimens without initial damage, specimens with three types of initial damage were considered: (1) specimens with short delaminations distributed evenly through the specimen thickness, (2) specimens with few long delaminations, and (3) specimens with local fiber damage in the surface plies under the three-point bend contact point. It was found that specimens with short multiple delamination experienced the greatest reduction in compression strength compared to the undamaged specimens. Single delaminations far from the specimen surface had little effect on the final compression strength, and moderate strength reduction was observed for specimens with localized surface ply damage.
 
Article
Analytic elasticity solutions for laminated composite cylindrical shells under cylindrical bending are presented. The material of the shell is assumed to be general cylindrically anisotropic. Based on the theory of cylindrical anisotropic elasticity, coupled governing partial differential equations are developed. The general expressions for the stresses and displacements in the laminated composite cylinders are discussed. The closed form solutions based on Classical Shell Theory (CST) and Donnell's (1933) theory are also derived for comparison purposes. Three examples illustrate the effect of radius-to-thickness ratio, coupling and stacking sequence. The results show that, in general, CST yields poor stress and displacement distributions for thick-section composite shells, but converges to the exact elasticity solution as the radius-to-thickness ratio increases. It is also shown that Donnell's theory significantly underestimates the stress and displacement response.
 
Article
The feasibility of changing the bolt shape from circular to elliptical in order to increase the joint strength was investigated. An analytical method using a cosine series to represent the bearing stress was derived, and a boundary collocation method was used to determine the unknown coefficients of this cosine series. Stresses at the hole edge predicted by the analytical method agreed very well with finite element solutions. Failure analyses of joints in two different laminates were performed, and each laminate exhibited a different joint failure mode. Results demonstrate that the joint strength of both laminates can be improved substantially by changing the bolt shape to elliptical. The joint that failed in a bearing mode showed a greater strength increase compared to the joint that failed in a shearing mode.
 
Article
The progressive failure analysis of composite bolted joints under thermal environment has been investigated using the finite element method. The emphasis has been on the computational aspects of the problem. The ultimate failure loads and pin-bearing stresses have been computed using different failure criteria and the results have been compared with the experimental data as published in the open literature. In reality, bolted joints have been employed to various situations where the amount of load to be transferred is relatively high and on many occasions thermal effect is an important consideration. So the effect of material property degradation due to temperature has also been considered in this investigation. Progressive damage analyses have been performed for different laminates to give complete load-deflection path beyond failure load that will serve as a future reference. The pin has been modeled as a rigid object and load has been imparted on the structure as a displacement-controlled process to simulate the experimental situation in the laboratory environment. Contact between the bolt and the laminate has been considered in the analysis. A number of “User Subroutines” for ABAQUS software have been developed to incorporate Hashin, maximum stress, and Tsai-Wu failure criteria in the analysis. The effectiveness and performance of various well-known failure criteria as mentioned above have been evaluated and the results have been presented in graphical form.
 
Article
Simplified procedures are described to design and analyze single and multi-bolt composite joints. Numerical examples illustrate the use of these methods. Factors affecting composite bolted joints are summarized. References are cited where more detailed discussion is presented on specific aspects of composite bolted joints. Design variables associated with these joints are summarized in the appendix.
 
Article
The traditional approach used in modeling of composites reinforced by three-dimensional (3-D) braids is to assume a simple unit cell geometry of a 3-D braided structure with known fiber volume fraction and orientation. In this article, we first examine 3-D braiding methods in the light of braid structures, followed by the development of geometric models for 3-D braids using a unit cell approach. The unit cell geometry of 3-D braids is identified and the relationship of structural parameters such as yarn orientation angle and fiber volume fraction with the key processing parameters established. The limiting geometry has been computed by establishing the point at which yarns jam against each other. Using this factor makes it possible to identify the complete range of allowable geometric arrangements for 3-D braided preforms. This identified unit cell geometry can be translated to mechanical models which relate the geometrical properties of fabric preforms to the mechanical responses of composite systems.
 
Article
The predicted compressive stiffness and buckling strength of filament-wound cylinders using classical lamination theory is significantly higher than those observed experimentally. This discrepancy is partially influenced by the variation of mechanical properties in the region of fiber undulations. These regions are localized geometric defects intrinsic to the filament-winding, weaving, and braiding processes. In the present work, the average mechanical properties of the fiber undulation region are quantified using modified models of woven-fabric composites to account for the 3-dimensional effects. The mechanical properties thus determined can be incorporated as local element properties into global finite-element models. Preliminary results from large-displacement analyses of filament-wound cylinders are relatively more accurate when fiber undulations are accounted for.
 
Article
Damage progression and fracture of built-up composite structures is evaluated by using computational simulation. The objective is to examine the behavior and response of a stiffened composite (0/ +/- 45/90)(sub s6) laminate panel by simulating the damage initiation, growth, accumulation, progression and propagation to structural collapse. An integrated computer code, CODSTRAN, was augmented for the simulation of the progressive damage and fracture of built-up composite structures under mechanical loading. Results show that damage initiation and progression have significant effect on the structural response. Influence of the type of loading is investigated on the damage initiation, propagation and final fracture of the build-up composite panel.
 
Article
Response of quasi-isotropic laminates of SiC coated Carbon/Carbon (C/C) composites have been investigated under flexural loading at various temperatures. Variation of load-deflection behavior with temperatures are studied. Increase in flexural strength and stiffness are observed with the rise in temperature. Extensive analyses through Optical Microscope (OM) and Non-Destructive Evaluation (NDE) have been performed to understand the failure mechanisms. Damage zone is found only within the neighborhood of the loading plane. Isoparametric layered shell elements developed on the basis of the first order shear deformation theory have been used to model the thin laminates of C/C under flexural loading. Large deformation behavior has been considered in the finite element analysis to account for the non-linearities encountered during the actual test. Data generated using finite element analysis are presented to corroborate the experimental findings, and a comparison in respect of displacement and stress-strain behavior are given to check the accuracy of the finite element analysis. Reasonable correlation between the experimental and finite element results have been established.
 
Article
The mixed-mode bending (MMB) test was employed in an investigation of delamination fracture behavior in static and fatigue loading for carbon/epoxy composites 1300/M10 and HTA/6376. As specimens were loaded at different ratios of alL for different mixed-mode ratios, both investigated composites exhibited brittle unstable or brittle stable behavior of crack growth. Mixed-mode delamination fracture toughness was determined at a IL = 0.5. Fracture surfaces of MMB specimens were examined using scanning electron microscopy to distinguish fracture features. Stable crack growth was observed over the entire range of crack lengths investigated in the cyclic tests. A consistent relation of crack growth per cycle to the cyclic strain energy release rate was obtained. The trend of reduction in crack growth rate data with diminution in cyclic strain energy release rate suggests the presence of a threshold strain energy release rate.
 
Article
Composite materials remain extremely vulnerable to out-of-plane impact loads, which may lead to severe losses in strength and stiffness. Impact induced damage is often a complex mixture of transverse cracks, delaminations and fiber failures. An experimental investigation was undertaken to quantify damage tolerance and resistance in composite materials impacted using the drop-weight method. Tests were conducted on laminates of several different carbon-fiber composite systems such as epoxies, modified epoxies, and amorphous and semicrystalline thermoplastics. In this paper, impacted composite specimens have been examined using destructive and nondestructive techniques to establish the characteristic damage states. Specifically, optical microscopy, ultrasonic and scanning electron microscopy techniques have been used to identify impact induced damage mechanisms. Damage propagation during post impact compression was also studied.
 
Article
A study of transverse cracking mechanism in composite laminates is presented using a singular hybrid finite element model. The model provides the global structural response as well as the precise local crack-tip stress fields. An elasticity basis for the problem is established by employing Lekhnitskii's complex variable potentials and method of eigenfunction expansion. Stress singularities associated with the transverse crack are obtained by decomposing the deformation into the symmetric and antisymmetric modes and proper boundary conditions. A singular hybrid element is thereby formulated based on the variational principle of a modified hybrid functional to incorporate local crack singularities. Axial stiffness reduction due to transverse cracking is studied. The results are shown to be in very good agreement with the existing experimental data. Comparison with simple shear lag analysis is also given. The effects of stress intensity factors and strain energy density on the increase of crack density are analyzed. The results reveal that the parameters approach definite limits when crack densities are saturated, an evidence of the existence of characteristic damage state.
 
Article
The design of composite structures requires an evaluation of their safety and durability under service loads and possible overload conditions. This paper presents a computational tool that has been developed to examine the response of stiffened composite panels via the simulation of damage initiation, growth, accumulation, progression, and propagation to structural fracture or collapse. The structural durability of a composite panel with a discontinuous stiffener is investigated under compressive loading induced by the gradual displacement of an end support. Results indicate damage initiation and progression to have significant effects on structural behavior under loading. Utilization of an integrated computer code for structural durability assessment is demonstrated.
 
Article
A self-contained review of several semiempirical fracture models for predicting notched strength of composite laminates is presented, based on notched strength data on 70 different laminate configurations of graphite/epoxy, boron/aluminum, and graphite/polyimide. Emphasis is placed on experimental results concerning such failure factors as delamination, splitting, and size of damage zone. Moreover, the fracture model parameters are correlated with the notch sensitivity of composite laminates, and the applicability of the correlations in describing the material notch sensitivity is evaluated. The predictions provided by the different models were found to be identical for all practical purposes.
 
Article
A novel analysis method has been developed with the goal of providing ac curate assessments of the forces that can delaminate composite laminates and bonded structures. The method uses interconnecting high-order plates to represent the cross sec tion of a structural element. The plates can be both stacked and connected end-to-end. When stacked, the interfacial tractions generated between the plates can be calculated, providing a measure of the delaminating stresses. The plate equations are solved exactly, thus giving accurate numerical results even in cases where the stress gradients are steep. The plate theory used incorporates a linear distribution through the thickness for the u, v, and w displacements. This set of assumed displacements makes the plate shear deform able, and allows stretching in the thickness direction. Consequently, both shearing and normal tractions can be computed at the interfaces between stacked plates. The plate equations have been derived for completely general stacking sequences of composite plies; i.e. unsymmetric and unbalanced laminates are allowed. Both flat and cylindrically curved plates have been implemented. Beyond stress analysis, the method also provides strain-energy-release-rate (SERR) results for the growth of existing delaminations. The individual modes of the total SERR can be calculated for input to interactive crack growth laws.
 
Article
A computational simulation of the internal damage accumulation which causes the creep-rupture phenomenon in filamentary composite materials is developed. The creep-rupture process involves complex interactions between several damage mechanisms. A statistically-based computational simulation using a time-differencing approach is employed to model these progressive interactions. The finite element method is used to calculate the internal stresses. The fibers are modeled as a series of bar elements which are connected transversely by matrix elements. Flaws are distributed randomly throughout the elements in the model. Load is applied, and the properties of the individual elements are updated at the end of each time step as a function of the stress history. The simulation is continued until failure occurs. Several cases, with different initial flaw dispersions, are run to establish a statistical distribution of the time-to-failure. The calculations are performed on a supercomputer. The simulation results compare favorably with the results of creep-rupture experiments conducted at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
 
Article
Mixed-mode matrix fracture in central notched off-axis unidirectional composite laminates was investigated. A limited number of unidirectional tensile type specimens with a central, horizontal, notch were tested. Crack initiation and propagation were examined under various local stress fields that were controlled by fiber orientations. The tested specimens were simulated using a two dimensional finite element method with constant strain loading. The strain energy release rates along the crack were evaluated via crack closure technique. The variation of critical strain energy rates with off-axis angle was studied. The results from single (one-sided) and double (two-sided) crack simulations were presented and compared.
 
Article
Tests were performed measuring the damage initiation loads and the locations, shapes, and sizes of delaminations in Fiberite T300/976 graphite/epoxy, Fiberite IM7/977-2 graphite-toughened epoxy, and ICI APC-2 graphite-PEEK plates subjected to transverse static loads. The data were compared to the results of the Finn-Springer model, and good agreements were found between the measured and calculated delamination lengths and widths.
 
Article
A global/local procedure for the computation of the interlaminar stress components at the skin wrap, skin core, and wrap core interfaces for an advanced concept stiffened panel, is described. The procedure consists of a global model of two dimensional shell elements that is used to design a grid stiffened panel with blade type stiffeners, a local model of three dimensional solid elements that is used to compute interlaminar stress components, and a scheme devised to assign displacement boundary conditions for a local model that are based on displacement and rotation data of a few nodes of the global model. A global panel was designed according to strength, stiffness, and stability criteria associated with the design of traditional aircraft wing panels. Interlaminar normal and shearing stress components, computed via the local model, were found to be well below typical tensile normal and shearing strengths of a graphite epoxy material.
 
Article
A computational methodology is developed for the prediction of passive damping in composite structures. The method involves multiple levels of damping modeling by integrating micromechanics, laminate, and structural damping theories. The effects of temperature and moisture on structural damping are included. The simulation of damping in the structural level is accomplished with finite-element discretization. Applications are performed on graphite/epoxy composite beams, plates, and shells to illustrate the methodology. Additional parametric studies demonstrate the variation of structural modal damping with respect to ply angles, fiber volume ratio, and temperature.
 
Article
The delamination resistance of graphite-reinforced PEEK composites was quantified by conducting static and cyclic edge delamination tests on (35n/-35n/0n/90n)s AS4/PEEK laminates, where n = 1, 2. The experimentally determined mechanical delamination onset strains were used to calculate the critical strain-energy release rate for delamination onset as a function of fatigue cycle. The delamination onset strains decreased dramatically with fatigue cycles and then began to level off to an endurance limit at 1 million cycles. Although the static interlaminar fracture toughness of the AS4/PEEK composite is much greater than the toughness of graphite epoxy composites, the delamination fatigue threshold, calculated from the cyclic strain endurance limit at 1 million cycles, was only slightly greater than the threshold for graphite epoxy composites. The contribution of residual thermal stresses to delamination in the AS4/PEEK is substantial due to the large temperature range between the manufacture and the room temperatures.
 
Article
Structural durability/damage tolerance characteristics of an aluminum tension specimen possessing a short crack and repaired by applying a fiber composite surface patch is investigated via computational simulation. The composite patch is made of graphite/epoxy plies with various layups. An integrated computer code that accounts for all possible failure modes is used for the simulation of combined fiber-composite/aluminum structural degradation under loading. Damage initiation, growth, accumulation, and propagation to structural fracture are included in the simulation. Results show the structural degradation stages due to tensile loading and illustrate the use of computational simulation for the investigation of a composite patch repaired cracked metallic panel.
 
Article
A unified set of composite micromechanics equations is summarized and described. This unified set is for predicting the ply microstresses when the ply stresses are known. The set consists of equations of simple form for predicting three-dimensional stresses (six each) in the matrix, fiber, and interface. Several numerical examples are included to illustrate use and computational effectiveness of the equations in this unified set. Numerical results from these examples are discussed with respect to their significance on microcrack formation and, therefore, damage initiation in fiber composites.
 
Article
Results are presented of parametric studies to assess the effects of various parameters on the free vibration behavior (natural frequencies) of (plus or minus theta)2, angle-ply fiber composite thin shells in a hot environment. These results were obtained by using a three-dimensional finite element structural analysis computer code. The fiber composite shell is assumed to be cylindrical and made from T-300 graphite fibers embedded in an intermediate-modulus high-strength matrix (IMHS). The residual stresses induced into the laminated structure during curing are taken into account. The following parameters are investigated: the length and the thickness of the shell, the fiber orientations, the fiber volume fraction, the temperature profile through the thickness of the laminate and the different ply thicknesses. Results obtained indicate that: the fiber orientations and the length of the laminated shell had significant effect on the natural frequencies. The fiber volume fraction, the laminate thickness and the temperature profile through the shell thickness had a weak effect on the natural frequencies. Finally, the laminates with different ply thicknesses had insignificant influence on the behavior of the vibrated laminated shell.
 
Article
The equations governing the problem of low-velocity impact of a simply supported rectangular midplane-symmetric laminated plate are nondimensionalized such that the problem is defined in terms of five dimensionless parameters. A parametric study using the Graeco-Latin Factorial Plan is performed. Semi-empirical formulas for maximum impact force, impact duration, and maximum back surface strains are obtained. It is found that some of the simple impact models provide the bounds for the case of impact on a finite extent plate. A one parameter model is derived for impacts of short duration.
 
Article
Compression and compression-after-impact (CAI) tests were conducted on seven different AS4-3501-6 (0/90) 0.64-cm thick composite laminates. Four of the seven laminates had through-the-thickness (TTT) reinforcement fibers. Two TTT reinforcement methods, stitching and integral weaving, and two reinforcement fibers, Kevlar and carbon, were used. The remaining three laminates were made without TTT reinforcements and were tested to establish a baseline for comparison with the laminates having TTT reinforcement. Six of the seven laminates consisted of nine thick layers whereas the seventh material was composed of 46 thin plies. The use of thick-layer material has the potential for reducing structural part cost because of the reduced part count (layers of material). The compression strengths of the TTT reinforced laminates were approximately one half those of the materials without TTT reinforcements. However, the CAI strengths of the TTT reinforced materials were approximately twice those of materials without TTT reinforcements. The improvement in CAI strength is due to an increase in interlaminar strength produced by the TTT reinforcement. Stitched laminates had slightly higher compression and CAI strengths than the integrally woven laminates.
 
Article
The effect of local ply fiber fracture on the load-carrying capability and structural behavior of a composite cylindrical shell under internal pressure is investigated, using the CODSTRAN computer code to simulate the composite structural degradation under loading. Results show that an initial outer-surface defect in the vessel begins to grow at a relatively low pressure but exhibits localized gradual damage growth prior to structural fracture and that an initial inner-surface defect shows an overall damage progression and fracture behavior closely similar to that of the outer surface defect. An initial defect located near the mid-thickness of the shell requires a higher pressure to cause damage initiation, but, once the damage initiation pressure is reached, a sudden structural fracture stage is entered by rapid damage propagation at a slightly higher pressure.
 
Article
Measurements of the stress supported by the crush zone in open hole specimens loaded in compression were carried out on two composite laminates, AS4/PEEK and IM6/HST-7, containing circular holes of three different diameters. Compression tests were conducted in a specially designed high-axial-alignment material test system machine. Results indicated that the local stress supported in the crush zone is much less than the stress required to initiate the crush, providing the reason for the finding of Guynn et al. (1987) that the Dugdale model does not accurately predict the load-damage size relationship of open hole composite specimens loaded in compression.
 
Article
The effects of temperature and humidity cycling on mechanical properties of AS4/3501-6 quasi-isotropic textile composites were determined. The composites were resin transfer molded from unstitched, Kevlar 29 stitched, and S-2 glass stitched uniweave fabric preforms. Data presented include photomicrographs, compression strengths and compression-compression fatigue results for environmentally cycled and uncycled composites. After manufacture, microcracks developed around the glass and Kevlar stitching. These microcracks did not grow after environmental cycling. The unstitched material developed microcracks only after cycling. Temperature and humidity cycling reduced the static compression strength of the unstitched and Kevlar stitched uniweave materials nearly 10 percent. Under the same conditions the glass stitched uniweave material lost 3 percent of its baseline strength. Combined temperature and humidity cycling did not affect the fatigue properties of the uniweave materials when the test specimens were dried to their original weights before testing. Temperature cycling at constant 40 percent humidity, resulted in a 5 percent decrease in static compression strength for the unstitched and Kevlar stitched material. Unstitched, glass stitched and Kevlar stitched materials exposed to constant 60°C and 95 percent relative humidity for 80 days and then saturated in 70'C water, lost 17, 7 and 19 percent of their baseline compression strength, respectively. These conditions lowered the fatigue strengths only after saturation. Braided composites including, a stitched 2-D braid, an unstitched 2-D braid and a 3-D braid were also exposed to environmental cycling. The moisture absorption in the AS4/E905L system was lower than the AS4/3501-6 system. Consequently environmental cycling had little effect on the static or fatigue strengths of braided materials.
 
Article
Mode I interlaminar fracture toughness was determined on a series of unidirectional poly(phenylene oxide)/carbon fiber composites using the double cantilever beam test. Initial toughness for growth of a delamination from an insert depends on fiber type, and ranges from 190 to 440 J/sq m, with intermediate modulus fibers tending to give lower values than high-strain fibers. Low toughness values are attributed to poor fiber-matrix adhesion. As a delamination progress down the beam, fiber bridging increases the apparent toughness by up to a factor of 7, depending on the fiber.
 
Article
The present paper reports results from a computational simulation of probabilistic particulate reinforced composite behavior. The approach consists use of simplified micromechanics of particulate reinforced composites together with a Fast Probability Integration (FPI) technique. Sample results are presented for a Al/SiC(sub p)(silicon carbide particles in aluminum matrix) composite. The probability density functions for composite moduli, thermal expansion coefficient and thermal conductivities along with their sensitivity factors are computed. The effect of different assumed distributions and the effect of reducing scatter in constituent properties on the thermal expansion coefficient are also evaluated. The variations in the constituent properties that directly effect these composite properties are accounted for by assumed probabilistic distributions. The results show that the present technique provides valuable information about the scatter in composite properties and sensitivity factors, which are useful to test or design engineers.
 
Article
A finite element-based numerical technique has been developed to simulate damage growth in unidirectional composites. This technique incorporates elastic-plastic analysis, micromechanics analysis, failure criteria, and a node splitting and node force relaxation algorithm to create crack surfaces. Any combination of fiber and matrix properties can be used. One of the salient features of this technique is that damage growth can be simulated without pre-specifying a crack path. In addition, multiple damage mechanisms in the forms of matrix cracking, fiber breakage, fiber-matrix debonding and plastic deformation are capable of occurring simultaneously. The prevailing failure mechanism and the damage (crack) growth direction are dictated by the instantaneous near-tip stress and strain fields. Once the failure mechanism and crack direction are determined, the crack is advanced via the node splitting and node force relaxation algorithm. Simulations of the damage growth process in center-slit boron/aluminum and silicon carbide/titanium unidirectional specimens were performed. The simulation results agreed quite well with the experimental observations.
 
Article
Jute fiber reinforced polypropylene composites were manufactured using injection molding method. Raw jute fiber was oxidized and manufactured composites were post-treated with urotropine. Both raw and oxidized jute fiber at four level of loading (20, 25, 30 and 35 wt%) was utilized during manufacturing. Microstructural analysis and mechanical tests were conducted. Post-treated specimens yielded better mechanical properties compared to the oxidized and raw ones. Based on fiber loading, 30% fiber reinforced composites had the optimum set of mechanical properties. Authors propose that the bonding between the polypropylene matrix and urotropine treated jute fiber must be improved in order to have better mechanical properties at higher fiber content.
 
Article
Stitching through-the-thickness (TTT) of composite materials produces a surface loop of yarn between successive penetrations. The surface loop is pressed into the surface layers of the composite material during the curing of the laminate, kinking the in-plane fibers near the surface of the material. The compression strength and compression-after-impact (CAI) strengths of carbon-epoxy specimens were measured with and without the surface loop. Removal of the surface loop had no influence on failure mode or failure mechanism, but did significantly increase the compression and CAI strengths.
 
Article
An elastic/viscoplastic constitutive model was used to characterize the nonlinear and rate dependent behavior of a continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composite. This model was incorporated into a finite element program for the analysis of laminated plates and shells. Details on the finite element formulation with the proposed constitutive model were presented. The numerical results were compared with experimental data for uniaxial tension and three-point bending tests of (+ or - 45 deg)3s APC-2 laminates.
 
Article
Structural characteristics such as natural frequencies and buckling loads with corresponding mode shapes were investigated during progressive fracture of multilayer, angle-plied polymer matrix composites. A computer program was used to generate the numerical results for overall mechanical response of damaged composites. Variations in structural characteristics as a function of the previously applied loading were studied. Results indicate that most of the overall structural properties were preserved throughout a significant proportion of the ultimate fracture load. For the cases studied, changes in structural behavior began to occur after 70 percent of the ultimate fracture load was applied. However, the individual nature of the structural change was rather varied depending on the laminate configuration, fiber orientation, and the boundary conditions.
 
Article
A procedure is described to computationally simulate composite laminate fracture toughness in terms of strain energy release rate. It is also used to evaluate the degradation in laminate structural integrity in terms of displacements, loss in stiffness, loss in vibration frequencies and loss in buckling resistance. Specific laminates are selected for detail studies in order to demonstrate the generality of the procedure. These laminates had center delaminations, off-center delaminations, and pocket delaminations (center and off-center) at the free-edge and center delaminations at the interior. The laminates had two different thicknesses and were made from three different materials. The results obtained are presented in graphical form to illustrate the effects of delamination on the laminate structural integrity and on the laminate strain energy release rate (composite fracture toughness).
 
Article
The generalized Yeh-Stratton criterion is applied to calculate the fracture stress of multi-directional fibrous composite material with existing cracks or circular holes under uniaxial tensile load. The failure stresses were predicted and compared with the prediction by the theory of Nuismer and Whitney and the experimental data.Based on this study, it is recommended that for the cracks and circular holes with larger crack size and radius (>0.6 inch), the Yeh-Stratton failure criterion could be used as a proper design guide.
 
Article
The influence of moisture and temperature on the compressive properties of graphite/epoxy and APC-2 materials systems was investigated to assess the viability of using APC-2 instead of graphite/epoxy. Data obtained indicate that the moisture absorption rate of T-300/epoxy is higher than that of APC-2. Thick plate with smaller surface area absorbs less moisture than thin plate with larger surface area. The compressive strength and modulus of APC-2 are higher than those of T-300/epoxy composite, and APC-2 sustains higher compressive strength in the presence of moisture. The compressive strength and modulus decrease with the increase of temperature in the range of 23-100 C. The compression failure was in the form of delamination, interlaminar shear, and end brooming.
 
Article
A specially developed two-dimensional finite element micromechanics analysis was used to predict the transverse tensile response of three different carbon fiber-reinforced, polymer matrix unidirectional composites. Experimental data were available for four different fiber sizings. The composites were tested both dry and moisture-conditioned, at room and elevated temperatures. Analytical/experimental correlations are presented and discussed.
 
Article
Thermally induced transverse cracking in T300/5208 graphite-epoxy cross-ply laminates was investigated experimentally and theoretically. The six laminate configurations studied were: 0/90(3)s, 0(2)/90(2)s, 0(3)/90s, 90/0(3)s, 90(2)/0(2)s, and 90(3)/0s. The thermal load required to initiate transverse cracking was determined experimentally and compared to a theoretical prediction. Experimental results for the accumulation of transverse cracks under cyclic thermal loading between - 250 and 250 F for up to 500 thermal cycles are presented. The calculated in situ transverse-lamina strength was determined to be at least 1.9 times the unidirectional-lamina transverse tensile strength. All laminate configurations exhibited an increase in crack density with increasing thermal cycles.
 
Article
The effects of electron radiation and elevated temperature on the matrix-dominated cyclic response of standard T300/934 and a chemically modified T300/934 graphite-epoxy are characterized. Both materials were subjected to 1.0 x 10 to the 10th rads of 1.0 MeV electron irradiation, under vacuum, to simulate 30 years in geosynchronous orbit. Cyclic tests were performed at room temperature and elevated temperature (121 C) on 4-ply unidirectional laminates to characterize the effects associated with irradiation and elevated temperature. Both materials exhibited energy dissipation in their response at elevated temperature. The irradiated modified material also exhibited energy dissipation at room temperature. The combination of elevated temperature and irradiation resulted in the most severe effects in the form of lower proportional limits, and greater energy dissipation. Dynamic-mechanical analysis demonstrated that the glass transition temperature, T(g), of the standard material was lowered 39 C by irradiation, wereas the T(g) of the modified material was lowered 28 C by irradiation. Thermomechanical analysis showed the occurrence of volatile products generated upon heating of the irradiated materials.
 
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Sathishkumar T P
  • Kongu Engineering College
Charles L. Tucker
  • University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Mohini Sain
  • University of Toronto
Abdul Khalil H.P.S
  • Universiti Sains Malaysia
Salima Naidu
  • RMIT University