Applied Composite Materials (v.25, #3)

Micro-tomography based Geometry Modeling of Three-Dimensional Braided Composites by Guodong Fang; Chenghua Chen; Shenggang Yuan; Songhe Meng; Jun Liang (469-483).
A tracking and recognizing algorithm is proposed to automatically generate irregular cross-sections and central path of braid yarn within the 3D braided composites by using sets of high resolution tomography images. Only the initial cross-sections of braid yarns in a tomography image after treatment are required to be calibrated manually as searching cross-section template. The virtual geometry of 3D braided composites including some detailed geometry information, such as the braid yarn squeezing deformation, braid yarn distortion and braid yarn path deviation etc., can be reconstructed. The reconstructed geometry model can reflect the change of braid configurations during solidification process. The geometry configurations and mechanical properties of the braided composites are analyzed by using the reconstructed geometry model.
Keywords: Textile composites; Micro-CT; 3D reconstruction; Geometry model; Automatic identification

Viscosity of the liquid resin effects the chemical and mechanical properties of the pultruded composite. In resin injection pultrusion manufacturing the liquid resin is injected into a specially designed tapered injection chamber through the injection slots present on top and bottom of the chamber. The resin is injected at a pressure so as to completely wetout the fiber reinforcements inside the tapered injection chamber. As the resin penetrates through the fibers, the resin also pushes the fibers away from the wall towards the center of chamber causing compaction of the fiber reinforcements. The fibers are squeezed together due to compaction, making resin penetration more difficult; thus higher resin injection pressures are required to efficaciously penetrate through the compacted fibers and achieve complete wetout. The impact of resin viscosity on resin flow, fiber compaction, wetout and on the final product is further discussed. Injection chamber design predominantly effects the resin flow inside the chamber and the minimum injection pressure required to completely wet the fibers. Therefore, a desirable injection chamber design is such that wetout occurs at lower injection pressures and at low internal pressures inside the injection chamber.
Keywords: Compaction; Resin Injection Pultrusion; Resin Viscosity; Wetout; Tapered Injection Chamber

Characterization of a New Fully Recycled Carbon Fiber Reinforced Composite Subjected to High Strain Rate Tension by H. Meftah; S. Tamboura; J. Fitoussi; H. BenDaly; A. Tcharkhtchi (507-526).
The aim of this study is the complete physicochemical characterization and strain rate effect multi-scale analysis of a new fully recycled carbon fiber reinforced composites for automotive crash application. Two composites made of 20% wt short recycled carbon fibers (CF) are obtained by injection molding. The morphology and the degree of dispersion of CF in the matrixes were examined using a new ultrasonic method and SEM. High strain tensile behavior up to 100 s-1 is investigated. In order to avoid perturbation due to inertial effect and wave propagation, the specimen geometry was optimized. The elastic properties appear to be insensitive to the strain rate. However, a high strain rate effect on the local visco-plasticity of the matrix and fiber/matrix interface visco-damageable behavior is emphasized. The predominant damage mechanisms evolve from generalized matrix local ductility at low strain rate regime to fiber/matrix interface debonding and fibers pull-out at high strain rate regime.
Keywords: Recycled composite; Carbon fibers; High strain rate; Fiber/matrix bond; Fiber pull out

In this paper, two kinds of transient models, the viscoelastic model and the linear elastic model, are established to analyze the curing deformation of the thermosetting resin composites, and are calculated by COMSOL Multiphysics software. The two models consider the complicated coupling between physical and chemical changes during curing process of the composites and the time-variant characteristic of material performance parameters. Subsequently, the two proposed models are implemented respectively in a three-dimensional composite laminate structure, and a simple and convenient method of local coordinate system is used to calculate the development of residual stresses, curing shrinkage and curing deformation for the composite laminate. Researches show that the temperature, degree of curing (DOC) and residual stresses during curing process are consistent with the study in literature, so the curing shrinkage and curing deformation obtained on these basis have a certain referential value. Compared the differences between the two numerical results, it indicates that the residual stress and deformation calculated by the viscoelastic model are more close to the reference value than the linear elastic model.
Keywords: Three-dimensional finite element analysis; Thermosetting composite; Residual stress; Curing Shrinkage; Deformation

The purpose of this paper is to study micromechanical progressive failure properties of carbon fiber/epoxy composites with thermal residual stress by finite element analysis (FEA). Composite microstructures with hexagonal fiber distribution are used for the representative volume element (RVE), where an initial fiber breakage is assumed. Fiber breakage with random fiber strength is predicted using Monte Carlo simulation, progressive matrix damage is predicted by proposing a continuum damage mechanics model and interface failure is simulated using Xu and Needleman’s cohesive model. Temperature dependent thermal expansion coefficients for epoxy matrix are used. FEA by developing numerical codes using ANSYS finite element software is divided into two steps: 1. Thermal residual stresses due to mismatch between fiber and matrix are calculated; 2. Longitudinal tensile load is further exerted on the RVE to perform progressive failure analysis of carbon fiber/epoxy composites. Numerical convergence is solved by introducing the viscous damping effect properly. The extended Mori-Tanaka method that considers interface debonding is used to get homogenized mechanical responses of composites. Three main results by FEA are obtained: 1. the real-time matrix cracking, fiber breakage and interface debonding with increasing tensile strain is simulated. 2. the stress concentration coefficients on neighbouring fibers near the initial broken fiber and the axial fiber stress distribution along the broken fiber are predicted, compared with the results using the global and local load-sharing models based on the shear-lag theory. 3. the tensile strength of composite by FEA is compared with those by the shear-lag theory and experiments. Finally, the tensile stress-strain curve of composites by FEA is applied to the progressive failure analysis of composite pressure vessel.
Keywords: Micromechanical progressive failure; Matrix cracking; Interface stress transfer and interface debonding; Fiber breakage; Carbon fiber/epoxy composites; Finite element analysis (FEA)

To better understand the mechanical properties of recycled carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (rCFRP), CFRP crushed into small pieces was mixed randomly in different proportions (0–30 wt%) with two different resins: unsaturated polyester and epoxy resin. Two different sizes of crushed CFRP were used: 0.1 mm × 0.007 mm (milled CFRP) and 30 mm × 2 mm (chopped CFRP). The tensile strength of rCFRP was found to depend on both the proportion and the size of the CFRP pieces. It increased with increasing proportion of chopped CFRP, but decreased with increasing proportion of milled CFRP. There was no clear dependence of the tensile strength on the resin that was used. A low fracture strain was found for rCFRP samples made with chopped CFRP, in contrast to those made with milled CFRP. The fracture strain was found to increase with increasing content of milled CFRP up to 20 wt%, at which point, coalescence of existing microvoids occurred. However, there was a reduction in fracture strain for rCFRP with 30 wt% of milled CFRP, owing to the formation of defects (blow holes). Overall, the fracture strain was higher for rCFRPs based on epoxy resin than for those based on unsaturated polyester with the same CFRP content, because of the high ductility of the epoxy resin. The different tensile properties reflected different failure characteristics, with the use of chopped CFRP leading to a complicated rough fracture surface and with milled CFRP causing ductile failure through the presence of tiny dimple-like fractures. However, for a high content of milled CFRP (30 wt%), large blow holes were observed, leading to low ductility.
Keywords: Recycled CFRP; Carbon fiber; Tensile property; Unsaturated polyester; Epoxy

Elastic properties of laminate composites based Carbone Nanotubes (CNTs), used in military applications, were estimated using homogenization techniques and compared to the experimental data. The composite consists of three phases: T300 6k carbon fibers fabric with 5HS (satin) weave, baseline pure Epoxy matrix and CNTs added with 0.5%, 1%, 2% and 4%. Two step homogenization methods based RVE model were employed. The objective of this paper is to determine the elastic properties of structure starting from the knowledge of those of constituents (CNTs, Epoxy and carbon fibers fabric). It is assumed that the composites have a geometric periodicity and the homogenization model can be represented by a representative volume element (RVE). For multi-scale analysis, finite element modeling of unit cell based two step homogenization method is used. The first step gives the properties of thin film made of epoxy and CNTs and the second is used for homogenization of laminate composite. The fabric unit cell is chosen using a set of microscopic observation and then identified by its ability to enclose the characteristic periodic repeat in the fabric weave. The unit cell model of 5-Harness satin weave fabric textile composite is identified for numerical approach and their dimensions are chosen based on some microstructural measurements. Finally, a good comparison was obtained between the predicted elastic properties using numerical homogenization approach and the obtained experimental data with experimental tests.
Keywords: Homogenization; Computational multi-scale modeling; Composite materials; Carbon nanotubes; Micromechanical modelling; Textile composites

Carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) has been widely used in the aircraft industry and automobile industry owing to its superior properties. In this paper, a Nd:YVO4 picosecond pulsed system emitting at 355 nm has been used for CFRP machining experiments to determine optimum milling conditions. Milling parameters including laser power, milling speed and hatch distance were optimized by using box-behnken design of response surface methodology (RSM). Material removal rate was influenced by laser beam overlap ratio which affects mechanical denudation. The results in heat affected zones (HAZ) and milling quality were discussed through the machined surface observed with scanning electron microscope. A re-focusing technique based on the experiment with different focal planes was proposed and milling mechanism was also analyzed in details.
Keywords: CFRP; Milling parameters; Material removal rate; Heat affected zones; Milling mechanism

New Design Concept for an Excavator Arms by Using Composite Material by L. Solazzi; A. Assi; F. Ceresoli (601-617).
The purpose of the present paper is to lightweight design an excavator arms, by using a different materials and in particular composite material. Specifically, the research is based on the study of a commercial excavator, by determining its geometry and analyzing the load conditions to which it is exposed. These are determined in relation to either the load diagram of the machine or the possible utilities of the excavator, such as the rotation of the machine. The materials used and implemented in the different analytical and numerical elaborations are classic construction steel S 355 (UNI EN 10025–3), high-resistance steel S 890 (UNI EN 10025–6), aluminum Al 6063 T6 (UNI EN 573–3) and the composite material made by carbon fiber and epoxy resin. The adopted constraints for the design of new arms with different materials, non-conventional for these applications, are numerous. The new solutions must present a safety factor either with respect to the yield tensile strength or to the critical load of buckling greater than or equal to the one determined for the excavator in its original geometrical conformation. Another criterion, which has heavily conditioned the geometry of the arms, was given by the fact that the developed solutions must present a very similar value of the maximum displacement in the different load conditions analyzed. A new geometry for arms made by composite material was developed. It was an elliptical conic section, instead of the classic rectangular section, in order to use the filament winding technological process. As for the adoption of the composite material, we focused on the study and the design of this material as long as the interaction with the extremities (made of aluminum) which are interfaced either with the link between the arms or with the elements of the hydraulic plant which serves for the arms movement. From the results developed, it emerges that the solution developed by adopting composite materials is the one that permits the maximum weight reduction for all arms, about 68.1%, which can be seen as an increment of the maximum mass transportable about 45.5% i.e. passing from 5000 kg to 7277 kg.
Keywords: Composite structures design; Carbon fiber; Excavator; Machine design; Lightweight structures; Finite element analysis

A Unit-Cell Model for Predicting the Elastic Constants of 3D Four Directional Cylindrical Braided Composite Shafts by Wenfeng Hao; Ye Liu; Xinrong Huang; Yinghua Liu; Jianguo Zhu (619-633).
In this work, the elastic constants of 3D four directional cylindrical braided composite shafts were predicted using analytical and numerical methods. First, the motion rule of yarn carrier of 3D four directional cylindrical braided composite shafts was analyzed, and the horizontal projection of yarn motion trajectory was obtained. Then, the geometry models of unit-cells with different braiding angles and fiber volume contents were built up, and the meso-scale models of 3D cylindrical braided composite shafts were obtained. Finally, the effects of braiding angles and fiber volume contents on the elastic constants of 3D braided composite shafts were analyzed theoretically and numerically. These results play a crucial role in investigating the mechanical properties of 3D 4-directional braided composites shafts.
Keywords: 3D braided composite shafts; Unit-cell model; Elastic constants; Braiding angle; Cylindrical braiding

This work shows a new rational theoretical model for quantitatively predicting fracture strength and critical flaw size of the ZrB2-ZrC composites at different temperatures, which is based on a new proposed temperature dependent fracture surface energy model and the Griffith criterion. The fracture model takes into account the combined effects of temperature and damage terms (surface flaws and internal flaws) with no any fitting parameters. The predictions of fracture strength and critical flaw size of the ZrB2-ZrC composites at high temperatures agree well with experimental data. Then using the theoretical method, the improvement and design of materials are proposed. The proposed model can be used to predict the fracture strength, find the critical flaw and study the effects of microstructures on the fracture mechanism of the ZrB2-ZrC composites at high temperatures, which thus could become a potential convenient, practical and economical technical means for predicting fracture properties and material design.
Keywords: ZrB2-ZrC composites; Fracture strength; Critical flaw; Temperature dependent model; Material design

Identification and Modelling of the In-Plane Reinforcement Orientation Variations in a CFRP Laminate Produced by Manual Lay-Up by Yves Davila; Laurent Crouzeix; Bernard Douchin; Francis Collombet; Yves-Henri Grunevald (647-660).
Reinforcement angle orientation has a significant effect on the mechanical properties of composite materials. This work presents a methodology to introduce variable reinforcement angles into finite element (FE) models of composite structures. The study of reinforcement orientation variations uses meta-models to identify and control a continuous variation across the composite ply. First, the reinforcement angle is measured through image analysis techniques of the composite plies during the lay-up phase. Image analysis results show that variations in the mean ply orientations are between −0.5 and 0.5° with standard deviations ranging between 0.34 and 0.41°. An automatic post-treatment of the images determines the global and local angle variations yielding good agreements visually and numerically between the analysed images and the identified parameters. A composite plate analysed at the end of the cooling phase is presented as a case of study. Here, the variation in residual strains induced by the variability in the reinforcement orientation are up to 28% of the strain field of the homogeneous FE model. The proposed methodology has shown its capabilities to introduce material and geometrical variability into FE analysis of layered composite structures.
Keywords: Variability; In-plane fibre orientation; FE models; Meta-models

This paper deals with the dielectric barrier discharge assisted continuous plasma polypyrrole deposition on CNT-grafted carbon fibers for conductive composite applications. The simultaneous effects of three controllable factors have been studied on the electrical resistivity (ER) of these two material systems based on multivariate experimental design methodology. A posterior probability referring to Benjamini-Hochberg (BH) false discovery rate was explored as multiple testing corrections of the t-test p values. BH significance threshold of 0.05 was produced truly statistically significant coefficients to describe ER of two material systems. A group of plasma modified samples was chosen to be used for composite manufacturing to drive an assessment of interlaminar shear properties under static loading. Transversal and longitudinal electrical resistivity (DC, ω =0) of composite samples were studied to compare both the effects of CNT grafting and plasma modification on ER of resultant composites.
Keywords: Response surface methodology; Benjamini-Hochberg false discovery rate; Conductive composites; Interlaminar shear strength

The thermal response and ablation behavior of a hybrid carbon/carbon (C/C) composite are studied herein by using a numerical model. This model is based on the energy- and mass-conservation principles as well as on the calculation of the thermophysical properties of materials. The thermal response and ablation behavior are simulated from the perspective of the matrix and fiber components of a hybrid C/C composite. The thermophysical properties during ablation are calculated, and a moving boundary is implemented to consider the recession of the ablation surface. The temperature distribution, thermophysical properties, char layer thickness, linear ablation rate, mass flow rate of the pyrolysis gases, and mass loss of the hybrid C/C composite are quantitatively predicted. This numerical study describing the thermal response and ablation behavior provides a fundamental understanding of the ablative mechanism of a hybrid C/C composite, serving as a reference and basis for further designs and optimizations of thermoprotective materials.
Keywords: Hybrid C/C composite; Ablation behavior; Numerical simulation; Thermophysical properties; Moving boundary

Numerical Evaluation of Dynamic Response for Flexible Composite Structures under Slamming Impact for Naval Applications by O. H. Hassoon; M. Tarfaoui; A. El Moumen; H. Benyahia; M. Nachtane (689-706).
The deformable composite structures subjected to water-entry impact can be caused a phenomenon called hydroelastic effect, which can modified the fluid flow and estimated hydrodynamic loads comparing with rigid body. This is considered very important for ship design engineers to predict the global and the local hydrodynamic loads. This paper presents a numerical model to simulate the slamming water impact of flexible composite panels using an explicit finite element method. In order to better describe the hydroelastic influence and mechanical properties, composite materials panels with different stiffness and under different impact velocities with deadrise angle of 100 have been studied. In the other hand, the inertia effect was observed in the early stage of the impact that relative to the loading rate. Simulation results have been indicated that the lower stiffness panel has a higher hydroelastic effect and becomes more important when decreasing of the deadrise angle and increasing the impact velocity. Finally, the simulation results were compared with the experimental data and the analytical approaches of the rigid body to describe the behavior of the hydroelastic influence.
Keywords: Composite panels; Flexible composites; Fluid-structure interaction; Hull slamming