, Volume 100, Issue 3, pp 275-306

Compressive response and failure of fiber reinforced unidirectional composites

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Abstract

The compressive response of polymer matrix fiber reinforced unidirectional composites (PMC's) is investigated via a combination of experiment and analysis. The study accounts for the nonlinear constitutive response of the polymer matrix material and examines the effect of fiber geometric imperfections, fiber mechanical properties and fiber volume fraction on the measured compressive strength and compressive failure mechanism.Glass and carbon fiber reinforced unidirectional composite specimens are manufactured in-house with fiber volume fractions ranging over 10∼60 percent. Compression test results with these specimens show that carbon fiber composites have lower compressive strengths than glass fiber composites. Glass fiber composites demonstrate a splitting failure mode for a range of low fiber volume fractions and a simultaneous splitting/kink banding failure mode for high fiber volume fractions. Carbon fiber composites show kink banding throughout the range of fiber volume fractions examined. Nonlinear material properties of the matrix, orthotropic material properties of the carbon fiber, initial geometric fiber imperfections and nonuniform fiber volume fraction are all included in an appropriate finite element analysis to explain some of the observed experimental results. A new analytical model predictionof the splitting failure mode shows that this failure mode is favorable for glass fiber composites, which is in agreement with test results. Furthermore, this modelis able to show the influence of fiber mechanical properties, fiber volume fraction and fiber geometry on the splitting failure mode.