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Damage growth in bending of composite beams Dorosh, Mark Norman


A study has been made of glass fibre reinforced plastic beams in three-point bending. In recent years, the importance of flexural loading in composites has manifested itself in the form of composite leaf springs, helicopter rotors, and other applications. This study is directed at the initiation, growth, characterization and measurement of damage in unidirectional and cross-ply composite beams. Beams were tested in three-point static and cyclic bending. Following damage initiation, either by a machined notch or by repeated cycling, damage growth has been characterized by two damage parameters: a damage depth encompassing a number of broken fibres on the tensile surface at the central load point, and a damage length or delamination parallel to the beam longitudinal axis. A model was developed to predict the compliance, or deflection under applied load, as a function of beam properties and damage dimensions. The model is able to predict the compliance of damaged beams with reasonable accuracy. From fracture mechanics concepts it is shown that the two damage dimensions, depth and length, are related. It is concluded that the increase in compliance, a result of the growing damage dimensions, is related to the growth of the damage depth; the damage length follows from the relation between damage parameters and the compliance follows from the compliance model. The damage state can thus be determined by compliance measurements if the relevant material properties and loading conditions are known. However, in service, compliance measurements may not be practical. Therefore a section of this study is devoted to an alternative damage measurement technique, namely acoustic emission monitoring. Damage initiation, compliance, damage length and damage depth were measured with AE monitoring techniques.

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