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The objective of this paper is to evaluate various experimental techniques and analysis methods for the characterization of interlaminar fracture toughness, and to determine the effects of strain rate on that property for a graphite/epoxy composite. Mode I interlaminar fracture was investigated by means of a double-cantilever beam (DCB) specimen for AS-4/3501-6 graphite/epoxy. Hinged tabs were used to insure unrestrained rotation at the free ends. Specimens were loaded at quasi-static deflection rates of up to 8.5 mm/s (20 in./min) corresponding to crack extension rates of over 51 mm/s (2 in./s). Crack extension was monitored by means of strain gages mounted on the surface of the specimen, or a conductive-paint circuit attached to the edge of the DCB specimen. Continuous records were obtained of load, deflection, and crack extension for determination of the strain energy release rate. The latter was expressed as a power law of the crack extension velocity. Results indicate that the strain energy release rate increases with crack velocity by up to 28% for the range of rates considered here.
graphite/epoxy, delamination, fracture toughness, strain rate effects, test methods, double-cantilever beam
Graduate Student, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria,
Professor and Director, Experimental Stress Analysis Laboratory, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, IL