Characterization of Heat Damage in Graphite/Epoxy Composites

    Published: Jan 1996

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    Polymer-matrix composite materials are currently in use as structural components on aircraft. These composites may be subjected to heat damage during their service life. This damage can arise from a fire, engine exhaust, or a mishap during a composite repair. The high-temperature exposure times corresponding to these incidents are typically less than 5 min. When heat damage is severe, the damage can be detected using visual or ultrasonic techniques. However, there is a concern that moderate amounts of heat damage that cannot be detected with ultrasonic or visual inspection may cause a decrease in the physical or mechanical properties of the composite.

    In this study, panels were damaged at a moderate temperature for exposure times of 1 to 5 min and at a high temperature for exposure times of 5 to 30 s. A full spectrum of undamaged, moderate, and severe heat damage was constructed from these exposures. The control and heat-exposed panels were characterized with visual inspection, ultrasonics, hardness, and flexural strength measurements. With the heat-exposed panels, reductions in properties occurred only in coupons that possessed delaminations that were detected by ultrasonics.


    graphite/epoxy composites, heat damage, fire damage, nondestructive inspection, hardness measurements, microscopy, composite materials, testing, design

    Author Information:

    Armstrong-Carroll, E
    Materials engineers, Naval Air Warfare Center, Warminster, PA

    Mehrkam, PA
    Materials engineers, Naval Air Warfare Center, Warminster, PA

    Cochran, R
    Materials engineers, Naval Air Warfare Center, Warminster, PA

    Paper ID: STP16537S

    Committee/Subcommittee: D30.08

    DOI: 10.1520/STP16537S

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