Effect of high through-thickness compressive stress on fibre direction tensile strength of carbon/epoxy composite laminates

Khong Wui Gan*, Michael R. Wisnom, Stephen R. Hallett

*Corresponding author for this work

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

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The fibre-direction tensile strength of carbon/epoxy laminates under the influence of through-thickness compressive stresses has been experimentally investigated. In a unidirectional (UD) laminate, the through-thickness compressive stresses will cause premature longitudinal fibre-splitting, masking the effect of transverse stresses on the fibre-direction strength. Here a cross-ply laminate has been used. With the addition of 90° plies preventing the 0° fibres from splitting, it effectively allows the dependence of fibre-direction tensile strength on high through-thickness stresses to be studied. The severity of the through-thickness loads has been varied using cylindrical indenters of different radii, up to the loads near the through-thickness compressive failure stress of the cross-ply laminate. The results show that there is a linear decrease in fibre-direction strength with the mean through-thickness stress. In all the test cases, the specimens failed in a catastrophic brittle manner, with scanning electron micrography showing primarily a fibre tensile fracture mode. The detailed stress state in the specimens has been calculated via finite element analysis. Two failure criteria are proposed, which can be used as conservative design criteria concerning fibre-dominated failures in multiaxial load scenarios. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalComposites Science and Technology
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2014

Structured keywords

  • Composites UTC


  • Polymer-matrix composites (PMCs)
  • Strength
  • Failure criterion
  • Finite element analysis (FEA)

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