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Micromechanical Aspects of Failure in Unidirectional Fiber Reinforced Composites


Oguni, Kenji (2000) Micromechanical Aspects of Failure in Unidirectional Fiber Reinforced Composites. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/3VSA-QN96.


Micromechanical aspects of failure in unidirectional fiber reinforced composites are investigated using combined experimental and analytical methods. Results from an experimental investigation on mechanical behavior of a unidirectional fiber reinforced polymer composite (E-glass/vinylester) with 50% fiber volume fraction under quasi-static uniaxial and proportional multiaxial compression are presented. Detailed examination of the specimen during and after the test reveals the failure mode transition from axial splitting to kink band formation as the loading condition changes from uniaxial to multiaxial compression.

Motivated by the experimental observations, an energy-based model is developed to provide an analytical estimate of the critical stress for axial splitting observed in unidirectional fiber reinforced composites under uniaxial compression in the fiber direction (also with weak lateral confinement). The analytic estimate for the compressive strength is used to illustrate its dependence on material properties, surface energy, fiber volume fraction, fiber diameter and lateral confining pressure.

To understand the effect of flaws on the strength of unidirectional fiber reinforced composites, a fracture mechanics based model for failure is developed. Based on this model, failure envelope, dominant initial flaw orientation and failure mode for the composites under a wide range of stress states are predicted. Parametric study provides quantitative evaluation of the effect of various mechanical and physical properties on failure behavior and identifies their influence on strength.

Finally, results from an experimental investigation on the dynamic mechanical behavior of unidirectional E-glass/vinylester composites with 30%, 50% fiber volume fraction under uniaxial compression are presented. Limited experimental results are also presented for the 50% fiber volume fraction composite under dynamic proportional lateral confinement. Specimens are loaded in the fiber direction using a modified Kolsky (split Hopkinson) pressure bar. The results indicate that the compressive strength of the composite increases with increasing strain rate and confinement. Post-test scanning electron microscopy reveals that axial splitting is the dominant failure mechanism in the composites under uniaxial compression in the entire range of strain rates. Based on the experimental results and observations, the energy-based analytic model is extended to predict the compressive strength of these composites under dynamic uniaxial loading conditions.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Applied Mechanics
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Applied Mechanics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Ravichandran, Guruswami
Thesis Committee:
  • Ravichandran, Guruswami (chair)
  • Bhattacharya, Kaushik
  • Rosakis, Ares J.
  • Ortiz, Michael
  • Ustundag, Ersan
Defense Date:10 March 2000
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Office of Naval Research (ONR)UNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:10082010-091323238
Persistent URL:
Oguni, Kenji0000-0003-0425-9784
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:6119
Deposited By: Benjamin Perez
Deposited On:11 Oct 2010 03:29
Last Modified:21 Dec 2019 02:50

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