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Delamination growth in compressively loaded composite laminates was studied analytically and experimentally. The configuration used in the study was a laminate with an across-the-width delamination. An approximate superposition stress analysis was developed to quantify the effects of various geometric, material, and load parameters on Mode I and Mode II strain-energy release rates GI and GII, respectively. Calculated values of GI and GII were then compared with measured cyclic delamination growth rates to determine the relative importance of GI and GII. High growth rates were observed only when GI was large. However, slow growth was observed even when GI was negligibly small. This growth apparently was due to a large value of GII.
composite materials, fatigue (materials), fracture mechanics, laminates, delamination, local buckling, nonlinear stress analysis, compression
Research engineer, NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va.