SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1986

Compression Failure Mechanisms in Unidirectional Composites


The present paper examines compression failure mechanisms in unidirectional composites. Possible failure modes of constituent materials are summarized and analytical models for fiber microbuckling are reviewed from a unified viewpoint. Due to deficiencies in available models, a failure model based on nonlinear material properties and initial fiber curvature is proposed.

The effect of constituent properties on composite compression behavior was experimentally investigated using two different graphite fibers and four different epoxy resins. The predominant macroscopic-scale failure mode was found to be shear crippling. In a soft resin, shear crippling was in the form of buckling of fibers on a microscopic scale. However, for stiff resins, failure was characterized by the formation of a kink band. For unidirectional laminates, compressive strength, and compressive modulus to a lesser extent, were found to increase with increasing magnitude of resin modulus. The change in compressive strength with resin modulus was predicted using the proposed nonlinear model.

Author Information

Hahn, HT
Washington University, St. Louis, MO
Williams, JG
Structures and Dynamics Division, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA
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Developed by Committee: D30
Pages: 115–139
DOI: 10.1520/STP35345S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-4963-2
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-0447-1