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    Properties of the Strength Distribution for Composite Materials

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    A model for the statistical failure of composite materials is presented. The purpose and advantage of the model is that the probability distribution for tensile strength of composites can be studied analytically. Exact results for small bundles are obtained and plotted for purposes of describing size effect, upper and lower tail behaviors of the strength distribution, and weakest link features of composites. Strong numerical evidence for the convergence of the strength distribution is presented in support of a weakest link transformation whereby results for smaller composites can be rescaled to apply to large composites. Also, conservative asymptotic bounds, which are extremely good in the region of interest for applications, are given for the strength distribution. These results imply that the Weibull distribution may be used confidently to represent composite strength, although the actual analytical result is not a Weibull distribution.


    composite materials, fiber composites, tensile strength, chain-of-bundles probability model, local load sharing, strength distributions, Weibull distribution, asymptotic bounds, weakest link characteristics

    Author Information:

    Harlow, DG
    Research associate, Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.

    Committee/Subcommittee: D30.05

    DOI: 10.1520/STP36924S