Stresses and deformations in angle-ply composite tubes

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

The objective of this study was to investigate, both experimentally and analytically, the stresses and deformations in angle-ply composite tubes subjected to axisymmetric thermal loading. For the theoretical portion, a generalized plane strain elasticity analysis was developed. The analysis included mechanical and thermal loading and temperature-dependent material properties. Using the elasticity analysis and a temperature range of 116 K to 450 K, stress levels were found to be high for the specific designs considered, compared to material failure levels. In addition, the use of temperature-dependent material properties was found to have a significant effect on the predicted stresses and deformations. The elasticity analysis was also used to study the effect of including a thin metallic coating on a graphite-epoxy tube. The stresses in the coatings were found to be quite high, exceeding the yield stress of aluminum. An important finding in the analytical studies was the fact that even tubes with a balanced-symmetric lamination sequence exhibited shear deformation or twist. The radial location of an off-axis ply was found to influence its effect on the overall torsional tube response. For the experimental portion, an apparatus was developed to measure torsional and axial response in the temperature range of 140 K to 360 K. Eighteen specimens were tested, combining three material systems, eight lamination sequences, and three off-axis ply orientation angles. For the twist response, agreement between analysis and experiment was found to be good. The axial response of the tubes tested was found to be greater than predicted by a factor of three. As a result of the study, it is recommended that the thermally-induced axial deformations be investigated further, both experimentally and analytically.