A cut-ply specimen for the mixed-mode fracture toughness and fatigue characterisation of FRPs

Georgia Charalambous, Giuliano Allegri*, James K. Lander, Stephen R. Hallett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
251 Downloads (Pure)


The characterisation of mixed-mode fracture toughness and fatigue delamination growth in fibre-reinforced composites is crucial for assessing the integrity of structural elements in service. An asymmetric cut-ply coupon (ACP) loaded in four-point bending is here proposed to carry out the aforementioned characterisations. Analytical expressions of the energy release rate and mode-mixity for the ACP are derived and validated by means of finite element analysis. A fracture toughness and fatigue characterisation of the carbon/epoxy material IM7/8552 is carried out via ACP specimens. It is proved that the material data obtained from ACP specimens match those generated using ASTM standard mixed-mode bending (MMB) coupons. The main reason for the introduction of the ACP test resides in its applicability to characterisation scenarios where measuring the delamination length with optical means, as required for MMB coupons, is difficult. Such scenarios include the investigation of static and fatigue delamination growth at low and high temperatures, which requires the usage of environmental chambers. This poses significant constraints in terms of volume available for the test rigs, and, most importantly, limitations on visual access to observe delamination propagation. However, the manufacturing of ACP coupons is more complex than for MMB specimens and the testing requires several additional precautions that are here discussed in detail.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-87
Number of pages11
JournalComposites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing
Early online date18 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015

Structured keywords

  • Composites UTC


  • A. Laminates
  • B. Delamination
  • B. Fracture toughness
  • D. Mechanical testing


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