Carbon polyetheretherketone (PEEK) composite tubes with different fiber orientations of 0°, ±5°, and ±10° have been investigated. Composite tubes were tested under two different conditions. One set of tubes was quasi-static tested at 1.67×10−5 m/s using a servo-hydraulic machine. Another set of tubes was impact tested at 8.5 m/s using a drop-weight testing machine. All the composite tubes were progressively crushed from the chamfered end. Quasi-static-tested tubes displayed higher specific energy absorption than the impact-tested tubes. This difference was attributed to the changes in the crushing mechanisms with the crushing speed. Quasi-static-tested tubes were crushed by splaying of tube wall into well-defined fronds whereas impact-tested tubes were crushed by brittle fracture of the tube wall. Brittle fracture of the tube wall was attributed to the reduced fracture toughness of carbon/PEEK composite materials at high strain rates. The specific energy absorption capability increased with increasing θ. The large number of fiber fractures observed in the crush zone might have contributed to the superior energy absorption capability of ±10° tubes.
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