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Many different failure criteria have been suggested for mixed-mode delamination toughness, but few sets of mixed-mode data exist that are consistent over the full range of Mode I opening load to Mode II shear load range. The mixed-mode bending (MMB) test was used to measure the delamination toughness of a brittle epoxy composite, a state-of-the-art toughened epoxy composite, and a tough thermoplastic composite over the full mixed-mode range. To gain insight into the different failure responses of the different materials, the delamination fracture surfaces were also examined. An evaluation of several failure criteria that have been reported in the literature was performed, and the range of responses modeled by each criterion was analyzed. A bilinear failurecriterion was introduced based on a change in the failure mechanism observed from the delamination surfaces. The different criteria were compared to the failure response of the three materials tested. The responses of the two epoxies were best modeled with the new bilinear failure criterion. The failure response of the tough thermoplastic composite could be modeled well with the bilinear criterion but could also be modeled with the more simple linear failure criterion. Since the materials differed in their mixed-mode failure response, mixed-mode delamination testing will be needed to characterize a composite material. This paper presents consistent sets of mixed-mode data, provides a critical evaluation of the mixed-mode failure criteria, and should provide general guidance for selecting anappropriate criterion for other materials.
composite, mixed-mode delamination, toughness testing, failure criteria
Research engineer, Mechanics of Materials Branch, NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA