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Continuum Damage Models for Reliability Assessment of Structural Composites

Zalikha Murni Abdul Hamid – Hector Fellow Peter Gumbsch

The market’s demand for carbon fiber/epoxy composite has dramatically increased due to its significant applications and advantages in the industry. Typical loading on the structures that are made up by this material often involves tensile and lateral bending of the composite laminates. These include transient and fatigue loading. Carbon fiber/epoxy composite structures under applied loading will undergo several damages and fracture modes such as matrix yielding, matrix cracking, fiber pull-out, fiber fracture, inter-ply delamination or fiber/matrix interface debonding (see Figure). These damages may appear individually or interact collectively, which can later lead to catastrophic structure failure. Thus, reliability assessment of the carbon fiber/epoxy composite structure is absolutely critical, taking into account the damage initiation, damage propagation and final failure. Furthermore, the versatility of the materials that are exploited under higher stress and strains justifies the need for more reliable data.

The project supervised by Hector Fellow Peter Gumbsch aims to identify the dominant damage mechanisms in carbon fiber/epoxy composite structures and their interactions under static and cyclic conditions. It aims, in particular, at defining the interaction effects between the neighboring laminates. Apart from that, the project also aims to determine the mechanism and to observe the phenomenon of inter-ply failure during the failure process of carbon fiber/epoxy composite laminates. The study should result in a proposed model to predict damage and failure modes that evolve within carbon fiber/epoxy composite. This model is expected to be able to predict the reliability of the carbon fiber/epoxy composite under both monotonic and fatigue loading.

Combined fiber, matrix and interface failure modes