Manufacture and buckling test of a variable-stiffness, variable-thickness composite cylinder under axial compression

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)

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213 Downloads (Pure)


Variable-angle tow (VAT) manufacturing methods significantly increase the design space for elastic tailoring of composite structures by smoothly changing fiber angle and ply thickness across a component. Rapid Tow Shearing (RTS) is a VAT manufacturing technique that uses in-plane shearing (rather than in-plane bending) to steer tows of dry or pre-impregnated fibers. RTS offers a number of benefits over conventional bending-driven steering processes, including: tessellation of adjacent tow courses; no overlaps or gaps between tows; and no fiber wrinkling or bridging. Further to this, RTS offers an additional design variable: fiber orientation to tow thickness coupling due to the volumetric relation between tow shearing and the tow's thickness and width. Previous computational work has shown that through a judicious choice of curvilinear fiber trajectories along a cylinder's length and across its circumference, the imperfection sensitivity of cylindrical shells under axial compression can be reduced and load-carrying capacity increased. The present work aims to verify these predictions by manufacturing and testing two cylinders: an RTS cylinder and a straight-fiber, quasi-isotropic cylinder as a benchmark. The tow-steered manufacturing process, imperfection measurements, instrumentation, and buckling tests of both cylinders are discussed herein. The experimental tests results are compared against high-fidelity geometrically nonlinear finite element models that include measured geometric and loading imperfections before and during the tests. Finally, a discussion is provided on the outstanding challenges in designing and manufacturing RTS cylinders for primary aerostructures.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAIAA SCITECH 2022 Forum
Subtitle of host publicationAIAA 2022-0664 Session: Composite Structural Analysis, Design, Testing and Manufacturing II
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc. (AIAA)
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-62410-631-6
ISBN (Print)978-1-62410-631-6
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2021
Event2022 AIAA SciTech Forum - San Diego, United States
Duration: 3 Jan 20227 Jan 2022

Publication series

NameAIAA Journal
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc. (AIAA)
ISSN (Print)0001-1452


Conference2022 AIAA SciTech Forum
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego


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