Failure and crippling of graphite-epoxy stiffeners loaded in compression

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Results of an experimental study of the failure and crippling of thin-walled open section prismatic compression members are presented. Twenty-four specimens were tested, 13 of which were channel sections and the other 11 were zee sections. Three specimens were made of 2024-T3 aluminum. The remaining 21 specimens were made of AS4-3502 graphite-epoxy. All specimens were tested to failure.

Seventeen specimens exhibited local buckling of flanges and webs prior to failure, four exhibited global column buckling prior to failure, two exhibited material short column failure, and one exhibited unstable postbuckling behavior prior to failure. The buckling loads for each specimen were also calculated by a computer code and compared to experimental buckling loads. Good correlation was achieved for specimens that did not buckle as columns.

The graphite-epoxy specimens which buckled locally had significant postbuckling response prior to failure at a maximum load (crippling). Differences in the crippling failure and compressive strength failure are discussed for the graphite-epoxy specimens.