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Damage Evolution in Composite Materials and Sandwich Structures Under Impulse Loading


Silva, Michael Lee (2011) Damage Evolution in Composite Materials and Sandwich Structures Under Impulse Loading. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/CRX1-7D43.

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Damage evolution in composite materials is a rather complex phenomenon. There are numerous failure modes in composite materials stemming from the interaction of the various constituent materials and the particular loading conditions. This thesis is concerned with investigating damage evolution in sandwich structures under repeated transient loading conditions associated with impulse loading due to hull slamming of high-speed marine craft. To fully understand the complex stress interactions, a full field technique to reveal stress or strain is required. Several full field techniques exist but are limited to materials with particular optical properties. A full field technique applicable to most materials is known as thermoelastic stress analysis (TSA) and reveals the variation in sum of principal stresses of a cyclically loaded sample by correlating the stresses to a small temperature change occurring at the loading frequency. Digital image correlation (DIC) is another noncontact full field technique that reveals the deformation field by tracking the motion of subsets of a random speckle pattern during the loading cycles.

A novel experimental technique to aid in the study of damage progression that combines TSA and DIC simultaneously utilizing a single infrared camera is presented in this thesis. A technique to reliably perform DIC with an infrared (IR) camera is developed utilizing variable emissivity paint. The thermal data can then be corrected for rigid-body motion and deformation such that each pixel represents the same material point in all frames. TSA is then performed on this corrected data, reducing motion blur and increasing accuracy. This combined method with a single infrared camera has several advantages, including a straightforward experimental setup without the need to correct for geometric effects of two spatially separate cameras. Additionally, there is no need for external lighting in TSA as the measured electromagnetic radiation is emitted by the sample’s thermal fields.

The particular stress resolution of TSA will depend on properties of the material of interest but the noise floor for the temperature variation is universal to the camera utilized. For the camera system in this thesis, the noise floor was found to be fairly frequency independent with a magnitude of 0.01 oC, giving the minimum measurable stress for 2024 aluminum alloy of 3.6 MPa and for Nylon of 0.84 MPa. The average displacement range found during a static DIC test with IR images was 0.1 pixels. The maximum displacement variation at 1 Hz was 0.018 pixels. The average variation in strain at 1 Hz was 25 microstrain comparable to traditional DIC measurements in the visible optical regime.

The combined TSA-DIC method in IR was validated with several benchmark example problems including plate structures with holes, cracks, and bimaterials. The validated technique was applied to foam-core sandwich composite beams under repeated simulated wave slamming loading. There are numerous failure modes in sandwich composite materials and the full field stress and strain from TSA and DIC, respectively, allow for improved failure analysis and prediction. Understanding damage in sandwich structures under impulse loading is a complex open area of research and the combined TSA-DIC method provides further insight into the failure process.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Thermoelastic stress analysis; infrared; digital image correlation; sandwich composite; damage; hull slamming
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Aeronautics
Minor Option:Geology
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Ravichandran, Guruswami
Thesis Committee:
  • Shepherd, Joseph E. (chair)
  • Ravichandran, Guruswami
  • Lapusta, Nadia
  • Daraio, Chiara
  • Shukla, Arun
Defense Date:27 January 2011
Non-Caltech Author Email:mlsilva (AT)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Office of Naval ResearchN00014-06-1-0730
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:05122011-154526450
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:6389
Deposited By: Michael Silva
Deposited On:17 May 2011 23:09
Last Modified:09 Oct 2019 17:09

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