The effect of interlayers on the mechanical response of composite laminates subjected to in-plane loading conditions

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


"lnterlayering" - the incorporation of low-modulus film adhesive between the plies of composite Iaminates - has proved to be a successful technique for reducing debilitating out-of-pIane stresses. This work seeks to determine the effect interlayering has on a composite Iaminate's in-plane performance.

Two Iaminate systems, an unnotched, 16-ply, quasi-isotropic, AS4/C985 and a centernotched, 32-ply, quasi-isotropic, AS4/C1808, were furnished in an interlayered and baseline (non-interlayered) configuration. The interlayers, 0.0005 in. each in thickness, appeared between each ply in every Iaminate tested. Both configurations of these two material systems were subjected to a regimen of in-plane loading tests. These tests included monotonic tension and compression, fully-reversed (R=-1), tension-compression fatigue cycling, and long-term tensile loading. A new test method, called the Incremental Strain Test (IST), was developed in an attempt to isolate and distinguish the long-term, tensile response of the interlayered and baseline Iaminates. This technique and its utility are described herein.

The interlayered Iaminates exhibited superior performance during monotonic and IST loading. Distinctly higher ultimate loads and strains were achieved by the interlayered laminates. The notched fatigue performance of the interlayered Iaminates was sub-standard in comparison to the baseline results at the load level tested. The residual tensile strength of the fatigued interlayered Iaminates fell sharply at an early fraction of the laminates’ total life. The presence of the interlayers did not degrade the laminates’ IST performance.

Several non-destructive techniques were used to monitor the damage mechanisms. These results, when combined with the experimental findings, helped explicate the disparity found between the interlayered and baseline Iaminate response.