Use of Material Tailoring to Improve Axial Load Capacity of Elliptical Composite Cylinders
This study focuses on the improvement of the axial buckling capacity of elliptical composite cylinders through the use of a circumferentially-varying lamination sequence. The concept of varying the lamination sequence around the circumference is considered as a viable approach for off-setting the disadvantages of having the cylinder radius of curvature vary with circumferential position, the source of the reduced buckling capacity when compared to a circular cylinder with the same circumference. Post-buckling collapse behavior and material failure characteristics are also of interest. Two approaches to implementing a circumferential variation of lamination are examined. For the first approach the lamination sequence is varied in a stepwise fashion around the circumference. Specifically, each quadrant of the cylinder circumference is divided into three equal-length regions denoted as the crown, middle, and side regions. Eight different cylinders designs, whereby each region is constructed of either a quasi-isotropic or an axially-stiff laminate of equal thickness, are studied. Results are compared to the baseline case of an elliptical cylinder constructed entirely of a quasi-isotropic laminate. Since the thickness of the quasi-isotropic and axially-stiff laminates are the same, all cylinders weight the same and thus comparisons are meaningful. Improvements upwards of 18% in axial buckling capacity can be achieved with one particular stepwise design. The second approach considers laminations that vary circumferentially in a continuous fashion to mitigate the effects of the continuously-varying radius of curvature. The methodology for determining how to tailor the lamination sequence circumferentially is based on the analytical predictions of a simple buckling analysis for simply-supported circular cylinders. With this approach, axial buckling load improvements upwards of 30% are realized. Of all the cylinders considered, very few do not exhibit material failure upon collapse in the post-buckled state. Of those that do not, there is little, if any, improvement in bucking capacity. Results for the pre-buckling, buckling, post-buckling, and material failure are obtained from the finite-element code ABAQUS using both static and dynamic analyses. Studies with the code demonstrate that the results obtained are converged.