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Experimental simulation of matrix cracking and debonding in a model brittle matrix composite


A model composite material system was designed to simulate typical damage mechanisms in unidirectional fiber reinforced brittle matrix composites. Experiments were performed at low to high quasistatic, macroscopic loading rates\((\dot \varepsilon = 10^{ - 5} - 10^{ - 3} s^{ - 1} )\). At all loading rates reversal of the transverse strain was observed and was correlated to matrix cracking and debonding. The optical method of coherent gradient sensing (CGS) was used to obtain qualitative information regarding the stress fields and to observe the progression of damage. It was found that the sequence of damage formation (damage path) depended on the macroscopic loading rate. At lower loading rates periodic matrix cracks developed; minimal debonding of the reinforcement-matrix interface occurred only much later in the experiment. At higher loading rates extensive debonding followed propagation of the initial matrix crack, and periodic cracking was not observed. Several features of the material response of the model material system were also observed in a previously studied unidirectional ceramic matrix composite.

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Walter, M.E., Ravichandran, G. Experimental simulation of matrix cracking and debonding in a model brittle matrix composite. Experimental Mechanics 37, 126–131 (1997).

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Key Words

  • Model brittle matrix composite
  • coherent gradient sensing
  • debonding
  • matrix cracking
  • rate dependent damage process