Experimental Mechanics

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 9–16 | Cite as

Wave propagation in transversely impacted composite laminates

An experimental investigation was conducted of wave-propagation characteristics, transient strains and residual properties of composite laminates under high-velocity impact
  • I. M. Daniel
  • T. Liber
  • R. H. LaBedz


An experimental investigation was conducted to determine wave-propagation characteristics, transient-strain distributions and residual properties for unidirectional and angle-ply boron/epoxy and graphite/epoxy laminates impacted with silicon-rubber projectiles at velocities up to 250 ms−1 (820 ft/s). Tests were conducted at normal and 45-deg oblique impact. Strain signals obtained from surface and embedded strain gages were recorded and analyzed to determine the types of waves, propagation velocities, peak strains, strain rates and attenuation characteristics. The predominant wave is a flexural on propagating at different velocities in different directions. The flexural wave velocity is higher in the higher-modulus direction. In general, measured wave velocities were higher than theoretically predicted. The amplitude of the in-plane wave is less than ten percent of that of the flexural wave. Peak strains and strain rates in the transverse to the (outer) fiber direction are much higher than those in the direction of the fibers. Strain rates up to 640 s−1 were measured. Under oblique 45-deg impact, the flexural wave is still the predominant one. Peak strains under this oblique impact range between 36 and 56 percent of those under normal impact of the same velocity. Residual elastic properties and strength were measured around the point of impact. The most significant result was a reduction in the transverse strength of the unidirectional laminates. The dynamics of impact were also studied with high-speed photography. The projectile is completely flattened within 50–70 μs and the total contact time is of the order of 300 μs.


Wave Velocity Composite Laminate Peak Strain Normal Impact Residual Property 
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Copyright information

© Society for Experimental Mechanics, Inc. 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. M. Daniel
    • 1
  • T. Liber
    • 1
  • R. H. LaBedz
    • 1
  1. 1.Mechanics of Materials DivisionIIT Research InstituteChicago

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