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An Experimental Investigation into Multi-Functional Z-pinned Composite Laminates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)679-688
Number of pages10
JournalMaterials and Design
Early online date12 Jul 2016
DateAccepted/In press - 8 Jul 2016
DateE-pub ahead of print - 12 Jul 2016
DatePublished (current) - 15 Oct 2016


This paper investigates the feasibility of monitoring progressive delamination growth in Z-pinned composite laminates via the measurement of through-thickness electrical resistance. This novel health monitoring technique is based on connecting Z-pins both in series and in parallel by means of arrays of electrodes arranged on the laminate surfaces. This creates a multi-functional (through-thickness reinforcing and sensing) laminated structure. Experimental results on double-cantilever beam coupons demonstrate that the entire Mode I bridging response of Z-pins can be monitored, from the arrival of the delamination front to the complete pull-out of the through-thickness reinforcement. Hence the extent of delamination can be inferred from the through-thickness resistance. This is proved for both conductive (carbon fibre-reinforced) and non-conductive (glass fibre-reinforced) laminates. The premature Z-pin failure during progressive pull-out corresponds to an abrupt increase of through-thickness electrical resistance. The delamination sensing/suppression method presented in this paper can be readily applied to Z-pinned composites at structural level.

    Structured keywords

  • Composites UTC

    Research areas

  • Structural composites, Z-pins, Delamination, Fracture toughness, Health monitoring.

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  • Full-text PDF (accepted author manuscript)

    Rights statement: This is the author accepted manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Elsevier at doi:10.1016/j.matdes.2016.07.035. Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Accepted author manuscript, 1.24 MB, PDF document

    Licence: CC BY-NC-ND


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