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Unlike metals, specimen preparation and test methods used for determining design allowables for fiber-reinforced composites are not fully developed or standardized for the industry. Test data depend on the test method, specimen design, composite fabrication method, and void content. The work described in this paper concerns standardizing test methods for the industry and reviews the present status of test methods for determining composite design allowables. Test methods available for tension, compression, and shear are summarized and advantages and disadvantages of each are discussed. Based on industry available data, recommendations are made as to which test methods are acceptable for determining design allowables and which test methods are suitable only for comparative purposes and quality control. Where available, test data obtained from different test methods or different specimen designs are discussed. Material characterization problems unique to composites, and test factors/conditions which affect the design allowables are also addressed.
test methods, composites, design allowables, characterization, standardization, tension, compression, shear
Senior engineering specialist, Kaman Aerospace Corporation, Bloomfield, CT