Elastic and time dependent matrix cracking in cross-ply composite laminates

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

The effects of time and stress level were investigated in cross-ply laminates to gain more understanding on the damage events in composites.

Analytical predictions of the effect of stress level were performed for the case of linear elastic materials. The predictions were based on energy methods and linear elastic fracture mechanics. Damage was simulated with a Monte Carlo numerical scheme. The predicted results corresponded well with experimental data in the literature.

Experimental testing was performed on cross-ply laminates to gain a better understanding of the effect of time and rate on matrix cracking. The tests were performed on Kevlar/epoxy and graphite/epoxy [0/90₃]₈ laminates. The results indicate that the stress levels required for matrix cracking are a function of how fast the specimens were loaded. Also, significant time dependent damage was observed in cross-ply laminates which were subjected to sustained loads.