An evaluation of the Iosipescu specimen for composite materials shear property measurement

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Virginia Tech


A detailed evaluation of the suitability of the Iosipescu specimen tested in the modified Wyoming fixture is presented. An experimental investigation using conventional strain gage instrumentation and moire interferometry is performed. A finite element analysis of the Iosipescu shear test for unidirectional and cross-ply composites is used to assess the uniformity of the shear stress field in the vicinity of the notch, and demonstrate the effect of the nonuniform stress field upon the strain gage measurements used for the determination of composite shear moduli.

From the test results for graphite-epoxy laminates, it is shown that the proximity of the load introduction point to the test section greatly influences the individual gage readings for certain fiber orientations but the effect upon shear modulus measurement is relatively unimportant. A numerical study of the load contact effect shows the sensitivity of some fiber configurations to the specimen/fixture contact mechanism and may account for the variations in the measured shear moduli. A comparison of the strain gage readings from one surface of a specimen with corresponding data from moire interferometry on the opposite face documented an extreme sensitivity of some fiber orientations to eccentric loading which induced twisting and yielded spurious shear stress-strain curves.

In the numerical analysis, it is shown that the Iosipescu specimens for different fiber orientations have to be modeled differently in order to closely approximate the true loading conditions. Correction factors are needed to allow for the non uniformity of the strain field and the use of the average shear stress in the shear modulus evaluation. The correction factors, which are determined for the region occupied by the strain gage rosette, are found to be dependent upon the material orthotropic ratio and the finite element models.

Based upon the experimental and numerical results, recommendations for improving the reliability and accuracy of the shear modulus values are made, and the implications for shear strength measurement discussed.

Further application of the Iosipescu shear test to woven fabric composites is presented. The limitations of the traditional strain gage instrumentation on the satin weave and high tow plain weave fabrics is discussed. Test result of a epoxy based aluminum particulate composite is also presented.

A modification of the Iosipescu specimen is proposed and investigated experimentally and numerically. It is shown that the proposed new specimen design provides a more uniform shear stress field in the test section and greatly reduces the normal and shear stress concentrations in the vicinity of the notches. While the fabrication and the material cost of the proposed specimen is tremendously reduced, it is shown the accuracy of the shear modulus measurement is not sacrificed.