On the delamination self-sensing function of Z-pinned composite laminates

Bing Zhang*, Giuliano Allegri , Mehdi Yasaee, Stephen Hallett, Ivana Partridge

*Corresponding author for this work

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

23 Citations (Scopus)
283 Downloads (Pure)


This paper investigates for the first time the usage of through-thickness reinforcement for delamination detection in self-sensing composite laminates. Electrically conductive T300/BMI Z-pins are considered in this study. The through-thickness electrical resistance is measured as the delamination self-sensing variable, both for conductive and non-conductive laminates. The Z-pin ends are connected to a resistance measurement circuit via electrodes arranged on the surface of the laminate. The delamination self-sensing function enabled by conductive Z-pins is characterised for Mode I/II delamination bridging, using single Z-pin coupons. Experiment results show that, if the through-thickness reinforced laminate is electrically conductive, the whole Z-pin pull-out process associated with delamination bridging can be monitored. However, for a non-conductive laminate, delamination bridging may not be sensed after the Z-pin is pulled out from one of the surface electrodes. Regardless of the electrical properties of the reinforced laminate, the through-thickness electrical resistance is capable of detecting Mode II bridging, albeit there exists an initial “blind spot” at relatively small lateral deformation. However, the Z-pin rupture can be clearly detected as an abrupt resistance increase. This study paves the way for exploring multi-functional applications of through-thickness reinforcement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-146
Number of pages9
JournalComposites Science and Technology
Early online date19 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2016

Structured keywords

  • Composites UTC


  • Structural composites
  • Smart materials
  • Delamination
  • Z-pinning


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