Inspired by a previously published peel stopper design for foam cored composite sandwich structures, three novel markedly lighter peel stoppers were evaluated with respect to their ability to deflect and arrest propagating face debond cracks. Of the three novel peel stopper configurations, C1, C2 and C3, C1 was similar to the previous design, whereas C2 and C3 were modified with layers of glass fibre fabric extending from the peel stopper tip into the face sheet (C2) or into the face sheet/core interface (C3). The previous peel stopper was validated under mode II dominated conditions, but the novel designs were investigated under mode I dominated crack propagation conditions, which are of higher practical relevance. Both quasi-static and fatigue loading scenarios were investigated. The mechanisms controlling crack propagation at the internal peel stopper tip were studied using Thermoelastic Stress analysis (TSA) and Finite Element (FE) analysis. The TSA has revealed significant new information about the local stress fields in the vicinity of the tri-material junction (peel stopper tip) as well as the fracture process zone. Configuration C1 was unable to deflect debond cracks consistently, albeit it did so in most cases, whereas it was incapable of achieving crack arrest. C2 and C3 both performed better in that they consistently demonstrated the ability to deflect propagating cracks, whereas only C2 could arrest the cracks consistently as well. Detailed fracture mechanics analyses confirmed and explained the experimental observations.
- Foam cored composite sandwich structures
- Peel stoppers
- Thermoelastic stress analysis
- Fracture modelling
- Damage tolerance