SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1989

Mode II Delamination Fracture Toughness of Unidirectional Graphite/Epoxy Composites


The mode II delamination fracture toughness of a ductile and a brittle unidirectional graphite/epoxy composite has been studied using the end-notched flexure (ENF) test and the end-loaded split laminate (ELS) test. The stress field in the vicinity of the crack tip of a split laminate beam under mode I and mode II (ELS test) conditions has been determined by means of a finite-element analysis. Also, the micromechanics of mode II fracture have been studied during in situ and postmortem observations of the fracture process. Both the ENF and ELS tests give similar values for GIIc. However, because elastic material behavior is assumed in the analysis, the GIIc results for a ductile composite are somewhat uncertain because permanent deformation is observed. The ELS test provides a pure shear stress state in the vicinity of the crack tip. The formation of hackles in composites made with brittle resins provides a more tortuous path for the crack leading to an increased resistance to delamination under mode II conditions compared to mode I. However, extensive resin deformation and yielding play a more significant role in the fracture resistance for mode II loading of composites made using a rubber-toughened epoxy.

Author Information

Corleto, CR
Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
Bradley, WL
Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
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Developed by Committee: E08
Pages: 201–221
DOI: 10.1520/STP10417S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5075-1
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-1190-5