Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Design methodology for the improvement of damage tolerance within composite structures

The objective of the programme is to develop an improved design methodology for carbon fibre composite components subject to low energy impact damage. To achieve this the programme aims to understand the mechanisms of damage formation and the effect of various parameters on the level of damage caused, assess a number of hybridisation techniques to increase the damage tolerance and to develop techniques to predict the amount of damage caused in an impact event and to predict the residual strength following impact. This knowledge will allow development and selection of new damage tolerance material systems with the minimum of testing and will allow engineers to design lighter weight, more efficient structures.

3 fibre resin systems were selected and fully tested to low energy impacts in various support conditions, with and without initial compression. Some newly proposed techniques to improve resistance were also tested experimentally. Analytical procedures were also implemented and assessed against experimental results.

A much greater understanding of impact damage tolerance performance of composites has been achieved. Important parameters influencing static and fatigue behaviour have been detected, hybridization methods and soft skin concepts were assessed and impact damage characteristics, impact force and critical damage force were correlated.

The research needs to be taken a step further so that all the information can be compiled in reliable design methodologies and innovative damage alleviation methods for carbon fibre composite materials.

Potential users of the results include the aircraft, aerospace, marine, rail and automotive industries.

Reported by

British Aerospace Defence Ltd
Warton Aerodrome Warton
PR4 1AX Preston
United Kingdom
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