Applied Composite Materials (v.19, #1)

Numerical Study on Hybrid Tubes Subjected to Static and Dynamic Loading by M. Y. Huang; Yuh-Shiou Tai; H. T. Hu (1-19).
The commercial finite element program LS-DYNA was employed to evaluate the response and energy absorbing capacity of cylindrical metal tubes that are externally wrapped with composite. The numerical simulation elucidated the crushing behaviors of these tubes under both quasi-static compression and axial dynamic impact loading. The effects of composite wall thickness, loading conditions and fiber ply orientation were examined. The stress–strain curves under different strain rates were used to determine the dynamic impact of strain rate effects on the metal. The results were compared with those of a simplified analytical model and the mean crushing force thus predicted agreed closely with the numerical simulations. The numerical results demonstrate that a wrapped composite can be utilized effectively to enhance the crushing characteristics and energy absorbing capacity of the tubes. Increasing the thickness of the composite increases the mean force and the specific energy absorption under both static and dynamic crushing. The ply pattern affects the energy absorption capacity and the failure mode of the metal tube and the composite material property is also significant in determining energy absorption efficiency.
Keywords: Fiber-reinforced metal tubes; Energy absorption; Axial crushing; Impact loading; Specific energy absorption

A conformal load-bearing antenna structure (CLAS) combines the antenna into a composite structure such that it can carry the designed load while functioning as an antenna. Novel microstrip antennas woven into the three dimensional orthogonal woven composite were proposed in our previous study. In order to determine the effect of the space between the conductive wires on the antenna performance, different space ratios of 1.7, 2.3 and 4.6 were considered in the design. Simulation results showed that when the space ratio increased, the frequency shift and return loss of the corresponding antenna became larger. And the antenna had relatively good performance when the space ratio reached 1.7. Two types of antennas were designed and fabricated with the ratio of 1.7 and 1 respectively and both of them obtained agreeable results. It was also demonstrated by the experimental that the orthogonal structure patch antenna had similar radiation pattern with the traditional copper foil microstrip antenna. However, the interlaced patch antenna had large back and side lobes in the radiation pattern because the existence of the curvature of copper wires in interlaced coupons lowered the reflective efficiency of the ground.
Keywords: 3D woven composites; Microstrip antenna; Smart structure; Simulation

During the manufacture of polymer-matrix composite components the cure degree must be uniform to have a good quality of the product. For thick composite components this condition is not often respected in fact the cure degree trend between the core and the external surface is different causing structural and geometrical/dimensional unconformities. In most cases, these problems are caused by a wrong design of cure process in terms of thermal cycle and tooling, therefore the cure cycle must be designed and optimized. The optimization of cure thermal cycle should include several performance criteria for the production system such as the targeted cure degree, the targeted maximum temperature of the part and the duration of the cure cycle as well as the production system limitations such as the maximum allowable heating rate, the maximum allowable cooling rate etc. This work aims to define by thermochemical phenomena a first step toward the definition of a method to optimize the cure degree of a thick composite components by focusing particular attention to the aspects of thermal degradations and residual stress.
Keywords: Thick composite components; Closed die technology; Cure process; Cure degree; Cure rate

Optimization of Sandwich Composites Fuselages Under Flight Loads by Chongxin Yuan; Otto Bergsma; Sotiris Koussios; Lei Zu; Adriaan Beukers (47-64).
The sandwich composites fuselages appear to be a promising choice for the future aircrafts because of their structural efficiency and functional integration advantages. However, the design of sandwich composites is more complex than other structures because of many involved variables. In this paper, the fuselage is designed as a sandwich composites cylinder, and its structural optimization using the finite element method (FEM) is outlined to obtain the minimum weight. The constraints include structural stability and the composites failure criteria. In order to get a verification baseline for the FEM analysis, the stability of sandwich structures is studied and the optimal design is performed based on the analytical formulae. Then, the predicted buckling loads and the optimization results obtained from a FEM model are compared with that from the analytical formulas, and a good agreement is achieved. A detailed parametric optimal design for the sandwich composites cylinder is conducted. The optimization method used here includes two steps: the minimization of the layer thickness followed by tailoring of the fiber orientation. The factors comprise layer number, fiber orientation, core thickness, frame dimension and spacing. Results show that the two-step optimization is an effective method for the sandwich composites and the foam sandwich cylinder with core thickness of 5 mm and frame pitch of 0.5 m exhibits the minimum weight.
Keywords: Sandwich; Composites; Stability; Optimization; ANOVA

Modeling and Prediction of Thermal Cycle Induced Failure in Epoxy-Silica Composites by Grzegorz Kmita; Tomasz Nowak; Robert Sekula (65-78).
Epoxy resins filled with dielectric mineral particles are frequently used as insulating materials in power industry applications. Due to their excellent dielectric properties and relatively good thermal performance (resistance, ageing and conductivity) their usability is common and extensive. However, the mechanical performance of the resins is influenced by several factors such as resistance to crack propagation, especially in low temperature applications. This phenomenon is normally linked with appearance of two phase systems where particle filled epoxy material interacts with metallic inserts having significantly different thermal expansion coefficients. This kind of epoxy-metal interface can produce relatively high stresses in the product structure during thermal cycle loading. The paper deals with mechanical problems of power industry products and introduces the methodology for numerical modeling of failure in silica filled epoxy systems subjected to severe temperature gradients. Various aspects of material behavior modeling are covered in this article, including polymerization process, viscoelastic stress relaxation as well as stochastic cracking.
Keywords: Particle-reinforced composites; Finite element analysis (FEA); Residual stress; Epoxy resin; Thermal cycle; Viscoelastic properties

Finite element procedures for the analysis of composite structures under compressive loads (buckling and post-buckling) generally are not deployed in books because they are still considered object of research whereas they are deemed as assessed by researchers that focus their papers on restricted audience topics. Therefore, regarding these procedures, a gap exists in literature between what researchers consider as well established and what has been already published. The aim of this paper is to contribute to close this gap by providing an insight in linear and non-linear buckling analyses and in their use with composite structures. Both modelling and analysis considerations are presented and discussed, focusing on what can be considered as best practice when dealing with this kind of problems. Applications (to a stiffened panel and to a wing box) are provided for demonstrating the effectiveness of the procedures presented.
Keywords: Composites; Finite element analysis; Stability; Buckling; Post-buckling; Non-linearity