Applied Composite Materials (v.24, #5)

This study aims to investigate the thermal conductivity and the linear coefficient of thermal expansion for short fibre reinforced composites. The study combines numerical and statistical analyses in order to primarily examine the representative size and the effective properties of the volume element. Effects of various micromechanical parameters, such as fibre’s aspect ratio and fibre’s orientation, on the minimum representative size are discussed. The numerically acquired effective properties, obtained for the representative size, are presented and compared with analytical models.
Keywords: RVE; Homogenisation; Stochastic parameters; Short fibre reinforced composites

Kink band is a typical phenomenon for composites under longitudinal compression. In this paper, theoretical analysis and finite element simulation were conducted to analyze kink angle as well as compressive strength of composites. Kink angle was considered to be an important character throughout longitudinal compression process. Three factors including plastic matrix, initial fiber misalignment and rotation due to loading were considered for theoretical analysis. Besides, the relationship between kink angle and fiber volume fraction was improved and optimized by theoretical derivation. In addition, finite element models considering fiber stochastic strength and Drucker-Prager constitutive model for matrix were conducted in ABAQUS to analyze kink band formation process, which corresponded with the experimental results. Through simulation, the loading and failure procedure can be evidently divided into three stages: elastic stage, softening stage, and fiber break stage. It also shows that kink band is a result of fiber misalignment and plastic matrix. Different values of initial fiber misalignment angle, wavelength and fiber volume fraction were considered to explore the effects on compressive strength and kink angle. Results show that compressive strength increases with the decreasing of initial fiber misalignment angle, the decreasing of initial fiber misalignment wavelength and the increasing of fiber volume fraction, while kink angle decreases in these situations. Orthogonal array in statistics was also built to distinguish the effect degree of these factors. It indicates that initial fiber misalignment angle has the largest impact on compressive strength and kink angle.
Keywords: Fiber misalignment; Kink angle; Longitudinal compression; Fiber reinforced composites; ABAQUS

In this paper, a progressive damage model was established on the basis of ABAQUS software for predicting permanent indentation and impact damage in composite laminates. Intralaminar and interlaminar damage was modelled based on the continuum damage mechanics (CDM) in the finite element model. For the verification of the model, low-velocity impact tests of quasi-isotropic laminates with material system of T300/5228A were conducted. Permanent indentation and impact damage of the laminates were simulated and the numerical results agree well with the experiments. It can be concluded that an obvious knee point can be identified on the curve of the indentation depth versus impact energy. Matrix cracking and delamination develops rapidly with the increasing impact energy, while considerable amount of fiber breakage only occurs when the impact energy exceeds the energy corresponding to the knee point. Predicted indentation depth after the knee point is very sensitive to the parameter μ which is proposed in this paper, and the acceptable value of this parameter is in range from 0.9 to 1.0.
Keywords: Composite laminates; Low-velocity impact; Permanent indentation; Impact damage; Finite element analysis

Sandwich composite beams have been more and more used in various industries because of their excellent mechanical properties. However, the mismatched performance between face sheet and foam core always lead to such as cracks and damages in the core or face/core interface during the processes of manufacturing or service. Delamination damage at the adhesive interface is the most dangerous and could be one main source that the mechanical capability of the structure is serous degenerated. In this paper, a simple and natural model to evaluate the stiffness of the spring interface elements, which is based on the physics and the geometry of the adhesive layers, is proposed. In order to validate the model, cantilever beam bending test were conducted for marine sandwich composite I-beam. A good comparison has been found between predictions and experimental results, and results indicate that the spring interface element can provide an efficient model for the delamination simulation of sandwich composite structures.
Keywords: Sandwich composite beam; Delamination simulation; Adhesive interface; Spring element

In this paper, the synergistic effects of loading frequency and testing temperature on the fatigue damage evolution and life prediction of cross-ply SiC/MAS ceramic-matrix composite have been investigated. The damage parameters of the fatigue hysteresis modulus, fatigue hysteresis dissipated energy and the interface shear stress were used to monitor the damage evolution inside of SiC/MAS composite. The evolution of fatigue hysteresis dissipated energy, the interface shear stress and broken fibers fraction versus cycle number, and the fatigue life S–N curves of SiC/MAS composite under the loading frequency of 1 and 10 Hz at 566 °C and 1093 °C in air condition have been predicted. The synergistic effects of the loading frequency and testing temperature on the degradation rate of fatigue hysteresis dissipated energy and the interface shear stress have been analyzed.
Keywords: Ceramic-matrix composites (CMCs); Fatigue; Damage evolution; Life prediction

According to the mathematical analysis model constructed on the basis of energy-balance relationship in lightning strike, and accompany with the simplified calculation strategy of composite resin pyrolysis degree dependent electrical conductivity, an effective three dimensional thermal-electrical coupling analysis finite element model of composite laminate suffered from lightning current was established based on ABAQUS, to elucidate the effects of lighting current waveform parameters and thermal/electrical properties of composite laminate on the extent of ablation damage. Simulated predictions agree well with the composite lightning strike directed effect experimental data, illustrating the potential accuracy of the constructed model. The analytical results revealed that extent of composite lightning strike ablation damage can be characterized by action integral validly, there exist remarkable power function relationships between action integral and visual damage area, projected damage area, maximum damage depth and damage volume of ablation damage, and enhancing the electrical conductivity and specific heat of composite, ablation damage will be descended obviously, power function relationships also exist between electrical conductivity, specific heat and ablation damage, however, the impact of thermal conductivity on the extent of ablation damage is not notable. The conclusions obtained provide some guidance for composite anti-lightning strike structure-function integration design.
Keywords: Carbon fiber/epoxy composite; Lightning strike ablation damage; Influence factors; Coupled electrical-thermal simulation

Mechanical Behaviors and Elastic Parameters of Laminated Fabric URETEK3216LV Subjected to Uniaxial and Biaxial Loading by Jianwen Chen; Wujun Chen; Mingyang Wang; Yong Ding; Han Zhou; Bing Zhao; Jin Fan (1107-1136).
A comprehensive experimental study of the laminated fabric URETEK3216LV subjected to mono-uniaxial, uniaxial cyclic and biaxial cyclic loading was performed to expose the detailed mechanical behaviors and determine proper elastic parameters for the laminated fabrics under specific stress states. The elastic modulus-strain curves and elastic parameter response surfaces were used to reveal the mechanical behaviors, and a weighted average method of integrals was proposed to calculate the elastic parameters for different stress states. Results show that typical stress-strain curves consist of three distinct regions during loading: crimp region, nonlinear transition region and yarn extension region, which is consistent with those of the constitutive yarns. The elastic parameters and mechanical behaviors of the laminated fabric are stress-state specific, and they vary noticeably with the experimental protocols, stress ratios and stress levels. The proposed method is feasible to evaluate the elastic parameters no matter what stress states the materials are subjected to, and thus it may offer potential access to obtain accurate design and analysis of the airship structures under different loading conditions.
Keywords: Laminated fabrics; Mechanical behaviors; Reciprocal relationship; Elastic modulus; Stress ratios; Poisson’s ratio

Co-Curing of CFRP-Steel Hybrid Joints Using the Vacuum Assisted Resin Infusion Process by Alexander Streitferdt; Natalie Rudolph; Iman Taha (1137-1149).
This study focuses on the one-step co-curing process of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) joined with a steel plate to form a hybrid structure. In this process CFRP laminate and bond to the metal are realized simultaneously by resin infusion, such that the same resin serves for both infusion and adhesion. For comparison, the commonly applied two-step process of adhesive bonding is studied. In this case, the CFRP laminate is fabricated in a first stage through resin infusion of Non Crimp Fabric (NCF) and joined to the steel plate in a further step through adhesive bonding. For this purpose, the commercially available epoxy-based Betamate 1620 is applied. CFRP laminates were fabricated using two different resin systems, namely the epoxy (EP)-based RTM6 and a newly developed fast curing polyurethane (PU) resin. Results show comparable mechanical performance of the PU and EP based CFRP laminates. The strength of the bond of the co-cured samples was in the same order as the samples adhesively bonded with the PU resin and the structural adhesive. The assembly adhesive with higher ductility showed a weaker performance compared to the other tests. It could be shown that the surface roughness had the highest impact on the joint performance under the investigated conditions.
Keywords: Joining; Co-curing; Adhesion bonding; Carbon fiber reinforced plastics

Tensile Properties and Failure Mechanism of 3D Woven Hollow Integrated Sandwich Composites by Chang Liu; Deng’an Cai; Guangming Zhou; Fangzhou Lu (1151-1163).
Tensile properties and failure mechanism of 3D woven hollow integrated sandwich composites are investigated experimentally, theoretically and numerically in this paper. Firstly, the tensile properties are obtained by quasi-static tensile tests on the specimens in two principal directions of the sandwich panels, called warp and weft. The experimental results shows that the tensile performances of the warp are better than that of the weft. By observing the broken specimens, it is found that the touch parts between yarns are the main failure regions under tension. Then, a theoretical method is developed to predict the tensile properties. By comparing with the experimental data, the accuracy of the theoretical method is verified. Simultaneously, a finite element model is established to predict the tensile behavior of the composites. The numerical results agree well with the experimental data. Moreover, the simulated progressive damages show that the contact regions in the warp and weft tension are both the initial failure areas.
Keywords: 3D woven hollow integrated sandwich composites; Tensile properties; Theoretical method; Finite element

This paper aims to study the effect of fibre cross-section shape on the mechanical properties of unidirectional fibre reinforced composites. First, the specific surface area of different cross-section shape is compared, and the gear-shape fibre is selected for further study, which has the largest specific surface area. The effect of gear-shape fibre with various tooth number on the transverse mechanical properties of unidirectional composites is investigated by computational micromechanics, comparing with the traditional round fibre. It is found that all the gear-shape fibre reinforced composites have higher transverse stiffness and strength than the round fibre reinforced composite, and the gear-shape fibre with fewer tooth number has greater reinforcing effect on the mechanical properties of the composite. The mechanism of this phenomenon is revealed by examine the damage initiation and evolution process of the composite, and suggestion is made on the optimal cross-section shape of the reinforcing fibre for the composites.
Keywords: Gear-shape fibre; Transverse mechanical properties; Computational micromechanics; Damage mechanism

The microstructure of 3D braided composites is composed of three phases: braiding yarn, matrix and interface. In this paper, a representative unit-cell (RUC) model including these three phases is established. Coupling with the periodical boundary condition, the damage behavior of 3D braided composites under quasi-static axial tension is simulated by using finite element method based on this RUC model. An anisotropic damage model based on Murakami damage theory is proposed to predict the damage evolution of yarns and matrix; a damage-friction combination interface constitutive model is adopted to predict the interface debonding behavior. A user material subroutine (VUMAT) involving these damage models is developed and implemented in the finite element software ABAQUS/Explicit. The whole process of damage evolution of 3D braided composites under quasi-static axial tension with typical braiding angles is simulated, and the damage mechanisms are revealed in detail in the simulation process. The tensile strength properties of the braided composites are predicted from the calculated stress-strain curves. Numerical results agree with the available experiment data and thus validates the proposed damage analysis model. The effects of certain material parameters on the predicted stress-strain responses are also discussed by numerical parameter study.
Keywords: 3D braided composites; Representative unit-cell; Damage modeling; Strength prediction; Finite element analysis

Spatial Evolution of the Thickness Variations over a CFRP Laminated Structure by Yves Davila; Laurent Crouzeix; Bernard Douchin; Francis Collombet; Yves-Henri Grunevald (1201-1215).
Ply thickness is one of the main drivers of the structural performance of a composite part. For stress analysis calculations (e.g., finite element analysis), composite plies are commonly considered to have a constant thickness compared to the reality (coefficients of variation up to 9% of the mean ply thickness). Unless this variability is taken into account reliable property predictions cannot be made. A modelling approach of such variations is proposed using parameters obtained from a 16-ply quasi-isotropic CFRP plate cured in an autoclave. A discrete Fourier transform algorithm is used to analyse the frequency response of the observed ply and plate thickness profiles. The model inputs, obtained by a mathematical representation of the ply thickness profiles, permit the generation of a representative stratification considering the spatial continuity of the thickness variations that are in good agreement with the real ply profiles spread over the composite part. A residual deformation FE model of the composite plate is used to illustrate the feasibility of the approach.
Keywords: Variability; Composite structure; Thickness; Discrete fourier transform; Finite element analysis (FEA); Autoclave; Unidirectional prepreg

In this paper, the fatigue hysteresis behavior of unidirectional SiC/Si3N4 ceramic-matrix composite at elevated temperature has been investigated. The hysteresis loops models considering interface friction between fibers and the matrix have been developed to establish the relationships between the fatigue hysteresis loops, fatigue hysteresis dissipated energy and the interface frictional coefficient. Using the experimental fatigue hysteresis dissipated energy, the interface frictional coefficient of SiC/Si3N4 composite at 1000 °C were obtained for different cycle numbers and fatigue peak stresses. The effects of fatigue peak stress, test temperature and cycle number on the evolution of fatigue hysteresis dissipated energy and interface frictional coefficient have been analyzed. It was found that the fatigue hysteresis dissipated energy can be used to monitor the interface debonding and damage evolution inside of the composite.
Keywords: Ceramic-matrix composites (CMCs); Fatigue; Hysteresis loops; Interface frictional coefficient

Multi-Scale Modeling of an Integrated 3D Braided Composite with Applications to Helicopter Arm by Diantang Zhang; Li Chen; Ying Sun; Yifan Zhang; Kun Qian (1233-1250).
A study is conducted with the aim of developing multi-scale analytical method for designing the composite helicopter arm with three-dimensional (3D) five-directional braided structure. Based on the analysis of 3D braided microstructure, the multi-scale finite element modeling is developed. Finite element analysis on the load capacity of 3D five-directional braided composites helicopter arm is carried out using the software ABAQUS/Standard. The influences of the braiding angle and loading condition on the stress and strain distribution of the helicopter arm are simulated. The results show that the proposed multi-scale method is capable of accurately predicting the mechanical properties of 3D braided composites, validated by the comparison the stress-strain curves of meso-scale RVCs. Furthermore, it is found that the braiding angle is an important factor affecting the mechanical properties of 3D five-directional braided composite helicopter arm. Based on the optimized structure parameters, the nearly net-shaped composite helicopter arm is fabricated using a novel resin transfer mould (RTM) process.
Keywords: Braiding; Preform; Mechanical properties; Finite element analysis (FEA)

Experimental and Numerical Study of the Buckling of Composite Profiles with Open Cross Section under Axial Compression by Patryk Rozylo; Andrzej Teter; Hubert Debski; Pawel Wysmulski; Katarzyna Falkowicz (1251-1264).
The object of the research are short, thin-walled columns with an open top-hat cross section made of multilayer laminate. The walls of the investigated profiles are made of plate elements. The entire columns are subjected to uniform compression. A detailed analysis allowed us to determine critical forces and post-critical equilibrium paths. It is assumed that the columns are articulately supported on the edges forming their ends. The numerical investigation is performed by the finite element method. The study involves solving the problem of eigenvalue and the non-linear problem of stability of the structure. The numerical analysis is performed by the commercial simulation software ABAQUS®. The numerical results are then validated experimentally. In the discussed cases, it is assumed that the material operates within a linearly-elastic range, and the non-linearity of the FEM model is due to large displacements.
Keywords: Critical state; Finite element method; Thin-walled plate structures; Composites; Buckling