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Techniques available to measure small thermal displacements in flat laminates and structural tubular elements of advanced composite materials are described. Emphasis is placed on laser interferometry and the laser interferometric dilatometer system used at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Langley Research Center. Thermal expansion data are presented for graphite-fiber reinforced 6061 and 2024 aluminum laminates and for graphite fiber reinforced AZ91 C and QH21 A magnesium laminates before and after processing to minimize or eliminate thermal strain hysteresis. Data are also presented on the effects of reinforcement volume content on thermal expansion of silicon-carbide whisker and paniculate reinforced aluminum.
thermal expansion, metal-matrix composites, composites, test methods
Senior researcher, NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA