The Defence Research Establishment, Valcatier (DREV) has been studying the application of composite materials for use in a lightweight anti-tank recoilless gun. Since thermoset resins are very sensitive to impact, it is important to determine the severity of damage using a nondestructive technique in order to establish the serviceability of the tube.
Acoustic emission (AE) was identified as a very promising method to measure the level of damage accumulation due to low-velocity impact, and a study was undertaken. The experimental program consisted of impacting 28 of 36 tubes with energies varying from 3 to 18 J. These tubes, fabricated by a wet winding process using carbon fiber/epoxy resin, were 25.4 cm long, and had a 9-cm internal diameter and a 3.6-mm wall thickness. The winding angle was ±71°. The AE was measured while pressurizing these tubes to rupture. Results indicate the potential of acoustic emission as a means of estimating the serviceability of a composite tube.
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