Impact Performance of Stitched and Unstitched Composites in Extreme Low Temperature Arctic Conditions


The impact performance of T650-35 stitched polyimide laminates and unstitched CFRP woven laminates is investigated at 23 and − 70 °C. Three impact energy levels of 6.7, 13.4, and 18.4 J/mm are selected to analyze the resulting damage modes. The results from the force–displacement and the absorbed energy curves evidently show that at − 70 °C, the specimens have noticeably higher initiation damage force for both material systems. Moreover, more significant load drops are observed at − 70 °C curves compared to the room temperature curves, which imply that multiple damage modes exist in greater extent at low temperature. The results further show that the T650-35 polyimide composites require higher impact load to initiate the matrix damage, indicating that the stitches efficiently suppressed the crack propagation on the samples. Furthermore, the T650-35 stitched polyimide composites can carry higher damage loads in both temperatures compared to the unstitched CFRP woven composites. X-ray micro-computed tomography technique is employed to reveal multiple complex impact damage modes. Results show that for unstitched composites impacted at 6.7 J/mm, − 70 °C samples experience multiple damage modes that include significant delamination, fiber breakage. However, for stitched composites impacted at 13.4 J/mm, similar complex damage modes are observed at 23 and − 70 °C.

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The authors acknowledge the research Grant N00014-16-1-3202 provided by the Office of Naval Research (ONR Program Manager: Dr. Yapa Rajapakse). The authors also thank Dr. Kathy Chuang (NASA Glenn Research Center) for providing the stitched composite specimens.

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Correspondence to K. T. Tan.

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Elamin, M., Li, B. & Tan, K.T. Impact Performance of Stitched and Unstitched Composites in Extreme Low Temperature Arctic Conditions. J. dynamic behavior mater. 4, 317–327 (2018).

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  • Damage tolerance
  • Stitching
  • Impact behavior
  • Low temperature