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COMPOSITE MATERIALS AND

STRUCTURES

P. K. Sinha

COMPOSITE MATERIALS AND STRUCTURES

P. K. Sinha

Published by Composite Centre of Excellence, AR & DB


Department of Aerospace Engineering
I.I.T. Kharagpur

Dedicated
To
My Family Members
Including Students

CHAPTER-1
INTRODUCTION
1.1 NATURAL AND MAN-MADE COMPOSITES
A composite is a material that is formed by combining two or more materials to
achieve some superior properties. Almost all the materials which we see around us are
composites. Some of them like woods, bones, stones, etc. are natural composites, as they
are either grown in nature or developed by natural processes. Wood is a fibrous material
consisting of thread-like hollow elongated organic cellulose that normally constitutes
about 60-70% of wood of which approximately 30-40% is crystalline, insoluble in water,
and the rest is amorphous and soluble in water. Cellulose fibres are flexible but possess
high strength. The more closely packed cellulose provides higher density and higher
strength.

The walls of these hollow elongated cells are the primary load-bearing

components of trees and plants. When the trees and plants are live, the load acting on a
particular portion (e.g., a branch) directly influences the growth of cellulose in the cell
walls located there and thereby reinforces that part of the branch, which experiences more
forces. This self-strengthening mechanism is something unique that can also be observed
in the case of live bones. Bones contain short and soft collagen fibres i.e., inorganic
calcium carbonate fibres dispersed in a mineral matrix called apatite. The fibres usually
grow and get oriented in the direction of load. Human and animal skeletons are the basic
structural frameworks that support various types of static and dynamic loads. Tooth is a
special type of bone consisting of a flexible core and the hard enamel surface. The
compressive strength of tooth varies through the thickness. The outer enamel is the
strongest with ultimate compressive strength as high as 700MPa. Tooth seems to have
piezoelectric properties i.e., reinforcing cells are formed with the application of pressure.
The most remarkable features of woods and bones are that the low density, strong and
stiff fibres are embedded in a low density matrix resulting in a strong, stiff and
lightweight composite (Table 1.1). It is therefore no wonder that early development of
aero-planes should make use of woods as one of the primary structural materials, and
about two hundred million years ago, huge flying amphibians, pterendons and pterosaurs,
with wing spans of 8-15 m , could soar from the mountains like the presentday hang-

gliders. Woods and bones in many respect, may be considered to be predecessors to


modern man-made composites.
Early men used rocks, woods and bones effectively in their struggle for existence
against natural and various kinds of other forces. The primitive people utilized these
materials to make weapons, tools and many utility-articles and also to build shelters. In
the early stages they mainly utilized these materials in their original form. They gradually
learnt to use them in a more efficient way by cutting and shaping them to more useful
forms. Later on they utilized several other materials such as vegetable fibres, shells, clays
as well as horns, teeth, skins and sinews of animals.
Table 1.1 Typical mechanical properties of natural fibres and natural composites

Materials

Density

Tensile modulus

Tensile strength

Kg/m3

GPa

MPa

Cotton

1540

1.1

400

Flax

1550

780

Jute

850

35

600

Coir

1150

200

Pineapple leaf

1440

65

1200

Sisal

810

46

700

Banana

1350

15

650

Asbestos

3200

186

5860

Bone

1870

28

140

Ivory

1850

17.5

220

Balsa

130

3.5

24

Spruce

470

11

90

Birch

650

16.5

Oak

690

13

Bamboo

900

20.6

Fibres

Composites

137
90
193

Woods, stones and clays formed the primary structural materials for building
shelters. Natural fibres like straws from grass plants and fibrous leaves were used as
roofing materials. Stone axes, daggers, spears with wooden handles, wooden bows,
fishing nets woven with vegetable fibers, jewelleries and decorative articles made out of
horns, bones, teeth, semiprecious stones, minerals, etc. were but a few examples that
illustrate how mankind, in early days, made use of those materials. The limitations
experienced in using these materials led to search for better materials to obtain a more
efficient material with better properties. This, in turn, laid the foundation for development
of man-made composite materials.
The most striking example of an early man-made composite is the strawreinforced clay which molded the civilization since prehistoric times. Egyptians, several
hundred years B.C., were known to reinforce the clay like deposits of the Nile Valley
with grass plant fibres to make sun baked mud bricks that were used in making temple
walls, tombs and houses. The watchtowers of the far western Great Wall of China were
supposed to have been built with straw-reinforced bricks during the Han Dynasty (about
200 years B.C.). The natural fibre reinforced clay, even to-day continues to be one of the
primary housing materials in the rural sectors of many third world countries.
The other classic examples are the laminated wood furniture used by early
Egyptians (1500 B.C.), in which high quality wood veneers are bonded to the surfaces of
cheaper woods. The origin of paper which made use of plant fibres can be traced back to
China (108 A.D.). The bows used by the warriors under the Mongolian Chief Djingiz
Chan (1200 A.D.) were believed to be made with the adhesive bonded laminated
composite consisting of buffalo or anti-lope horns, wood, silk and ox-neck tendons.
These laminated composite bows could deliver arrows with an effective shoot in range of
about 740 m.
Potteries and hydraulic cement mortars are some of the earliest examples of
ceramic composites. The cloissone ware of ancient China is also a striking example of
wire reinforced ceramics. Fine metallic wires were first shaped into attractive designs
which were then covered with colored clays and baked. In subsequent years, fine metallic
wires of various types were cast with different metal and ceramic matrices and were

utilized in diverse applications. Several other matrix materials such as natural gums and
resins, rubbers, bitumen, shellac, etc. were also popular. Naturally occurring fibres such
as those from plants (cotton, flux, hemp, etc.), animals (wool, fur and silk) and minerals
(asbestos) were in much demand. The high value textiles woven with fine gold and silver
threads received the patronage from the royalty and the rich all over the world. The
intricate, artful gold thread embroidery reached its zenith during the Mughal period in the
Indian subcontinent. The glass fibres were manufactured more than 2000 years ago in
Rome and Mesopotamia and were abundantly used in decoration of flower vases and
glass wares in those days.
The twentieth century has noticed the birth and proliferation of a whole gamut of
new materials that have further consolidated the foundation of modern composites.
Numerous synthetic resins, metallic alloys and ceramic matrices with superior physical,
thermal and mechanical properties have been developed. Fibres of very small diameter
(<10m) have been drawn from almost all materials. They are much stronger and stiffer
than the same material in bulk form. The strength and stiffness properties have been
found to increase dramatically, when whiskers (i.e., single crystal fibers) are grown from
some of these materials. Figure1.1 illustrates the specific tensile strength and the specific
tensile modulus properties are obtained by dividing the strength (M Pa) and modulus
(G Pa) by either the density (kg m-3) or the specific gravity of the material. Because of the
superior mechanical properties of fibers, the use of fibers as reinforcements started
gaining momentum during the twentieth century. The aerospace industries took the lead
in using fiber reinforced laminated plastics to replace several metallic parts. The fibres
like glass, carbon, boron and Kevlar, and plastics such as phenolics, epoxies and
polyesters caught the imagination of composite designers. One major advantage of using
fibre reinforced plastics (FRP) instead of metals is that they invariably lead to a weight
efficient design in view of their higher specific modulus and strength properties (Table
1.2).
Composites, due to their heterogeneous composition, provide unlimited
possibilities of deriving any characteristic material behavior. This unique flexibility in
design tailoring plus other attributes like ease of manufacturing, especially molding to
any shape with polymer composites, repairability, corrosion resistance, durability,

adaptability, cost effectiveness, etc. have attracted the attention of many users in several
engineering and other disciplines. Every industry is now vying with each other to make
the best use of composites. One can now notice the application of composites in many
disciplines starting from sports goods to space vehicles. This worldwide interest during
the last four decades has led to the prolific advancement in the field of composite
materials and structures. Several high performance polymers have now been developed.
Substantial progress has been made in the development of stronger and stiffer fibres,
metal and ceramic matrix composites, manufacturing and machining processes, quality
control and nondestructive evaluation techniques, test methods as well as design and
analysis methodology. The modern man-made composites have now firmly established as
the future material and are destined to dominate the material scenario right through the
twenty-first century.

Table 1.2 Comparative mechanical properties of some man-made structural


composites and metallic alloys
Materials Specific Tensile Tensile
gravity modulus strength

Compressive Specific Specific


strength

tensile

tensile

modulus strength
S

E
G Pa

Specific
compressive
strength

Xt

Xc

E/S

Xt/S

Xc/S

M Pa

M Pa

G Pa

M Pa

M Pa

Unidirectional Fibre Reinforced Plastics


GFRP

2.0

40

1650

1400

20.00

825.0

700.0

CFRP

1.6

140

1450

1050

87.50

906.3

656.3

KFRP

1.5

90

1650

300

60.00

1100.0

200.0

Steel

7.8

206

400-2500

400-2500

26.40

50-320

50-320

Ti alloy

4.5

103

360-1400

360-1400

22.90

80-310

80-310

Al alloy

2.8

69

55-700

55-700

24.60

20-250

20-250

Mg alloy

1.8

47

150-300

150-300

25.00

83-166

83-166

Beryllium

1.8

303

400

400

168-33

222

222

Metals

1.2 AEROSPACE APPLICATIONS


One of the primary requirements of aerospace structural materials is that they
should have low density and, at the same time, should be very stiff and strong. Early
biplanes used wood for structural frameworks and fabrics for wing surfaces. The fuselage
of World War I biplane fighter named Vieux Charles was built with wire braced wood
framework. The monoplane, Le Monocoque, had an unusually smooth aerodynamic
design. Its fuselage was made with laminated tulip wood, where one layer was placed
along the length of the fuselage, the second in a right-hand spiral and the third in a left
hand spiral around the fuselage. This laminated single shell wood construction provided
highly polished, smooth surfaces. There was a significant reduction in the drag, and the
plane could achieve a high speed of 108 mph. It won the Gordon Bennett speed race in

Chicago in 1912. Almost all biplanes and monoplanes, with very few exceptions, were
built of wood during the first quarter of the twentieth century. Lighter woods like balsa,
poplar, spruce, tulip, etc. were more popular. The five-seater Lockheed Vega (first flight
in 1927) also had highly polished, smooth, streamlined fuselage made of strips of spruce
wood bonded together with resin. The Vegas were considered to be the precursor of the
modern transport airplane and had the distinction of successfully completing many major
flights such as crossing the American continent non-stop from Los Angels to New York,
over-flying the Atlantic, encircling the globe and succeeding in several other long distant
flights and races. Soaring planes, in those days, also had highly polished thin plywood
fuselages.
The thirties and forties noticed a gradual shift from wood to aluminium alloy
construction. With the increase in the size and speed of airplanes, the strength and
stiffness requirements for a given weight could not be met from wooden construction.
Several new structural features, e.g., skin-stringer construction, shear webs, etc. were
introduced. The aerospace grade aluminium alloys were made available. Two important
airplanes Northrop Alpha and Boeing Monomail, which were forerunners in the
development of several other aircraft, had aluminium alloy monocoque fuselage and a
wood wing. These aircraft were introduced in 1930, although they were not the first to
use metals. The switch over to light aluminium alloys in aircraft construction was no
doubt, a major step in search for a lightweight design. The trend continued till fifties, by
which almost all types of airplanes were of all-metal design.
However, the limitations of aluminium alloys could be assessed as early as fifties
with the speed of the aircraft increasing sharply (significantly more than the speed of
sound), the demand for a more weight optimized performance, the fuel-efficient design
and so on. The aluminium was stretched to its maximum limit. The search for newer and
better materials was the only alternative. Continuous glass fibres, which were
commercially available since thirties, are found to be very strong, durable, creaseless,
non-flamable and insensitive to weathering. The glass fibres coated with resin can be
easily moulded to any complex curved shape, especially that of a wing root and fuselage
intersection and can be laid layer wise with fibres aligned in a desired direction as in the
case of the three-layered wood fuselage of Le Monocoque. Fibreglass fabrics were

successfully used in a series of Todai LBS gliders in Japan during the mid-fifties. Todai
LBS-1 had spoilers made from fiberglass fabrics. Todai LBS-2 had a wood wing and a
sandwich monocoque fuselage whose wall consisted of a balsa wood core sandwiched
between two glass fibre reinforced composite face skins. The wing skin of another
important glider, the Phoenix (first flight in 1957), developed in Germany was a
sandwich with fiberglass-polyester faces and balsa wood core. The other successful glider
SB-6, first flown in 1961, had a glass fibre-epoxy shell and a glass fibre composite-balsa
sandwich box spar. The remarkable feature of all these gliders is that they exhibited
superior flight performance and thus became the trend-setters in the use of glass fibre
reinforced plastics.
Glass fibres are strong, but not stiff enough to use them in high sped aircraft. The
search for stiffer fibres to make fibre reinforced composite started in the fifties in several
countries. The laboratory scale production of high-strength carbon fibres by Royal
Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough, U.K. was reported in 1952. In USA, Union Carbide
developed high-modulus continuous carbon fibres in 1958. High-strength graphite fibres
were developed at the Government Industrial Research Institute of Osaka, Japan in 1959.
Before the end of sixties the commercial production of carbon fibres (PAN based) started
in full scale. Very high modulus boron fibres were also introduced during this time. High
strength, low density organic fibres, Kevlar 49, were also marketed by Dupont, USA
during early seventies. A host of synthetic resins, especially structural grade epoxy resins,
were also commercially available. All these advanced materials provided the muchneeded alternatives to less efficient aluminium alloy and fiberglass composites. The
switch-over from the aluminium and GFRP to advanced composites in airframe
construction was, however, very slow at the initial stage (Fig. 1.2). It started with the F14 fighter and the F-111 fighter bomber around 1972, but in the period of about two and a
half decades, there were quite a few airplanes, in which almost all structures are made of
composites (Table 1.3). Similar trend in material uses can be observed in the
development of helicopters as well. As early as 1959-60, the Vetrol Company, now
Boeing Helicopters, developed helicopter rotor blades with glass-epoxy faces and
aluminium honeycomb core. In course of time several structural parts such as horizontal
stabilizer, vertical pylon, tail cone, canopies, fuselage, floor board, rotor hub and landing

gears were developed with various composites, which later culminated in the
development of the all composite helicopter, Boeing Model 360 which was flight tested
in 1987.
The manufacturers of passenger aircraft soon realized the significance of using
composites in the airframe structure. CFRP, KFRP and hybrid composites were
extensively used throughout the wing, fuselage and tailplane sections of Boeing 767.
Although the application of composites in civilian aircraft is relatively less, this trend is
likely to change by the turn of the twenty-first century with the introduction of supersonic
civil transports. Some of the future transport planes may fly at a very high speed (Mach
2-5). Significant advancement has been made in several high technology areas such as
supersonic V/STOL flights, lightweight air superiority fighters with thrust vectoring,
supersonic interceptors and bombers with high Mach number, advanced lightweight
helicopters with tilt rotors, aerospace planes and hypersonic vehicles with multi-mode
trans atmospheric cruise capability such as take-off and landing with a turbine engine,
accelerating to Mach number 10-12 with a Scramjet and achieving an orbital velocity
with a rocket engine. The composite materials will provide an increased number of
choices to meet the tight weight budget and the critical performance level for all these
advanced flight vehicles.

Table 1.3 Advanced composites in selected aerospace applications

Vehicles

Components

Composites

Sailplanes
SB-10

Middle portion of the wing

CFRP

All composite

CFRP

Stabilator

BFRP

SB-11, SB-12
Ventus, Nimbus,
AS-W22
Aeroplanes
F-14

F-15, F-16

Horizontal and Vertical tail skins

BFRP

Speed brakes

CFRP

A-4

Flap, Stabilator

CFRP

F-5

Leading edge

CFRP

Vulcan

Airbrakes

CFRP

Mirage 2000

Rudder

AV-8B

Wing skin, Control surfaces,

Boron/carbon/epoxy

Front fuselage

CFRP

Rafale

Wing structure

CFRP

Boeing 757

Control surface, Cowlings, Under

&767

carriage doors, Fairings

CFRP

A 310-300

Fin box

CFRP

Lear Fan 2100

All composite

CFRP

Voyager

All composite

CFRP

Starship

All composite

CFRP

Airbus, Concorde,
Delta 2000,

Brake discs

Carbon/carbon

DC-10

Aft pylon

Boron/aluminium

C-5A

Wing box

SiC/aluminium

F-111

Fuselge segment

Falcon 900

Boron/aluminium

Rockets and
Space Vehicles
Tactical

Nose cone, Inlet

Quartz/polyimide

Missiles

fairing, Fins

Carbon/polyimide

Rocket cases

KFRP, GFRP

Tomahawk

Shaft for turbofan

Borosic/titanium

PSLV

Upper stage solid motor case

Polaris,
Minuteman,
Poseidon,
Trident

10

KFRP

ARIANE

Dual-launch structures, Fairings

Hubble Space

High-gain antenna boom

CFRP
Graphite/6061 Al

Telescope
INTELSAT

Antennas,

CFRP & KFRP

Antenna support structure,


Multiplexers, Solar array wings
Viking

Parabolic antenna reflector

Voyager

CFRP
CFRP sandwich

Boom

CFRP

Parabolic reflector, Subreflector

CFRP

support structure
Dichroic subreflector

KFRP

INSAT,
ARABSAT, ITALSAT Antenne reflectors

CFRP

OLYMPUS
EUTELSAT

Dual-grided reflectors

TDF-1

Solar array wing

EURECA

Micro-gravity spacecraft

CFRP

platform truss structure


Space shuttle

CFRP & KFRP

CFRP

Main frame and rib-truss struts,


Frame stabilizing braces, Nose landing

Boron/aluminium

gear and drag-brace struts

The materials for the next-generation aeroengines will go a sea-through change in


view of much hotter running engines to increase the thermal efficiency and enhance the
thurst-to-weight ratio. It is envisaged that, for the future military aircraft, the thrust-toweight ratio will double, while the fuel consumption will reduce by 50%. Metal-matrix
composites (MMCs) and ceramic-matrix composites (CMCs), which are thermally stable
and can withstand loads at high temperatures (Fig.1.3) will be of immense use in such
applications. Carbon-carbon composites, which are ceramic composites can withstand
load beyond 20000C. The use of these advanced materials in aeroengines is likely to pick
up in the first decade of the twentifirst century (Fig.1.4). Fan blades, compressor blades,

11

vanes and shafts of several aeroengines are now either employing or contemplating to use
in the near future metal matrix composites with boron, borsic, boron carbide, silicon
carbides or tungsten fibres and aluminium, titanium, nickel and super alloy (e.g. NiCrAly
or FeCrAly) matrices. S-glass, quartz
And carbon fibre reinforced polyimides have recently been used on radomes and fins
operating at high temperatures for short and long duration, because polyimides have high
temperature strength retention properties compared to epoxies and phenolics. Carboncarbon composites have been successfully employed in the brake discs of aircraft, rocket
nozzles and several other components operating in extreme thermal environments.
The material menu for rockets, missiles, satellite launch vehicles, satellites and
other space vehicles is quite extensive and diverse. The trend is to design some of the
upper stage structural components like payload structures, satellite frame works and
central cylindrical shells, solar panel wings, solar booms, antennas, optical structures,
thermal shields, fairings, motor cases and nozzles, propellant tanks, pressure vessels, etc.
with composite materials to derive the maximum weight benefit. All space vehicles of
recent origin have several composite structural systems. CFRP is the obvious choice
because of its excellent thermo-mechanical properties, i.e., high specific stiffness and
strength, higher thermal conductivity and lower coefficient of thermal expansion. The
future large space stations are likely to be built with CFRP. Although BFRP has several
positive features, it is mainly used for stiffening purposes. Both GFRP and KFRP are
favoured for design of pressurized systems for their superiority in strength and costeffectiveness. Beryllium, although not a composite, possesses highly favourable
properties (Table 1.2) but it is sparingly used due to safety hazards, especially during
fabrication. The examples of space applications of composites are too many. One of the
early major application is the graphite-epoxy mesh grid off-set parabolic antenna
reflector developed by Hughes Aircraft Company for the Canadian ANIK satellite which
was launched in 1972. The European Remote Sensing Satellite ERS-I has several
composite parts plus a large 10m long metallised graphite-epoxy radar antenna array. The
Voyager spacecraft contains a large 3.7m diameter CFRP parabolic antenna reflector.
The fairing of ARIANE 4 is a graphite composite stiffened shell structure of maximum
4m diameter and 8.6m height. A few other typical examples are listed earlier in Table

12

1.3. The composite application in the aerospace industries is a process of continuous


development in which newer and more improved material systems are being utilized to
meet the critical design and flight worthiness requirements.

1.3 OTHER STRUCTURAL APPLICATIONS


1.3.1 Civil Engineering
The interest in the use of glass fibre reinforced polyesters in building structures
started as early as sixties. The beautiful GFRP dome structure in Benghajj was
constructed in 1968. The other inspiring example is the GFRP roof structure of Dubai
Airport. This was built in 1972 and is comprised of clustered umbrella like hyperbolic
paraboloids. Several GFRP shell structures were erected during seventies. Another
striking example is the dome complex at Sharajah International Airport, which was
constructed during early eighties. The primary advantage of using composites in shell
structure is that any complex shell shape, either synclastic, anticlastic or combination of
both, which is of architectural significance and aesthetic value, can be easily fabricated.
The composite folded plate system and skeletal structures also became popular. The roof
of Covent Garden Flower Market at Nine Elms, London covering an area of 1ha is an
interesting example which was based on a modular construction. In this, pyramidal
square modules were connected at their apices and bases to two-way skeletal grids. The
modular construction technique helps to build a large roof structure which is normally
encountered in the design of community halls, sports complexes, marketing centres,
swimming pools, factory sheds, etc. Several other applications, where GFRP has been
successfully used, include movable prefabricated houses, exterior wall panels, partition
walls, canopies, stair cases and ladders, water tanks, pipes and drainages and led to its
wide use in radomes and antenna towers. In one particular construction, the top 100 ft of
a radar microwave link tower was built with GFRP and the guys were Kevlar fibres (also
radio transparent) to reduce unwanted disturbances in air traffic control radar signals.
Considering the future prospects of composites in civil structural application, ASCE
Structural Plastics Research Council, as early as seventies endeavoured to develop design
methods for structural plastics, both reinforced and unreinforced. However, the major
deterrent for the popularity of composites in civil engineering structures is the material

13

cost. But, in many applications, GFRP and KFRP may be cheaper considering the
cumulative cost. The low structural weight will have direct bearing in lowering the cost
of supporting skeletal structures and foundation. Moreover, ease of fabrication and
erection, low handling and transportation cost, less wear and corrosion, simpler
maintenance and repairing procedures, non-magnetic properties, integrity and durability
as well as modular construction will cumulatively reduce the cost in the long run. The
Living Environment house, developed by GE plastics in 1989, is an illustrative example
of the multipurpose use of composites in a building.
1.3.2 Automotive Engineering
Feasibility studies were carried out, since early seventies, to explore the
possibilities of using composites in the exterior body panels, frameworks/chassis,
bumpers, drive shafts, suspension systems, wheels, steering wheel columns and
instrument panels of automotive vehicles. Ford Motor Co. experimented with the design
and development of a composite rear floor pan for an Escort model using three different
composites: a vinyl-ester-based SMC and XMC and a glass fibre reinforced
prolypropylene sheet material. Analytical studies, static and dynamic tests, durability
tests and noise tests demonstrated the feasibility of design and development of a highly
curved composite automotive part. A composite GM heavy truck frame, developed by the
Convair Division of General Dynamics in 1979, using graphite and Kevlar fibres (2:1 by
parts) and epoxy resin (32% by wt) not only performed satisfactorily but reduce the
weight by 62% in comparison to steel for the same strength and stiffness. The hybrid
glass/carbon fibre composite drive shafts, introduced around 1982 in Mazdas, provided
more weight savings, lower maintenance cost, reduced level of noise and vibration and
higher efficiency compared to their metal counterparts. The more recent pickup truck
GMT-400 (1988 model) carries a composite driveshaft that is pultruded around a 0.2cm
thick and 10cm diameter aluminium tube. The composite driver shaft is 60% lighter than
the original steel shaft and possesses superior dampening and torsional properties.
Chevrolet Corvette models carry filament wound composite leaf springs (monoleaf) in
both rear suspension (1081) and front suspension (1984). These springs were later
introduced during 1985 on the GM Chevrolet Astro van and Safari van. Fibre glass
reinforced polypropylene bumper beams were introduced on Chevrolet Corvette Ford and

14

GM passenger cars (1987 models). Other important applications of composites were the
rear axle for Volkswagen Auto-2000, Filament wound steering wheels for Audi models
and composite wheels of Pontiac sports cars. Composites are recognized as the most
appropriate materials for the corrosion resistant, lightweight, fast and fuel efficient
modern automobiles, for which aerodynamics constitute the primary design
considerations. All major automotive components like space frames, exterior and interior
body panels, instrument panel assemblies, power plants, power trains, drive trains, brake
and steering systems, etc. are now being fabricated with a wide variety of composites that
include polymer, metal and ceramic matrix composites. The latter two composites will be
of significance in heated engine components and brake pads. The pistons and connecting
rods of modern diesel and IC engines are invariably made of composites with alumina
fibres and aluminium or magnesium alloy matrices. The Ford`s probe V concept car is a
classical example of multiple applications of composites in an automobile car. The
present trend is to use composites even in the design of large size tankers, trailers,
delivery vans and passenger vehicles.

1.4 OTHER APPLICATIONS


Strong, stiff and light composites are also very attractive materials for marine
applications. GFRPs are being used for the last 3-4 decades to build canoes, yatchs, speed
boats and other workboats. The hull of a modern racing yatch, New Zealand, is of
sandwich construction with CFRP faces. There is currently a growing interest to use
composites, in a much larger scale, in ship industries. A new cabin construction material
that is being tried in the Statendam-class ship building is a metallic honeycomb sandwich
with resin-coated facing, that may lead to substantial weight saving. The Ulstein water jet
has a long moulded inlet tract for better control of dimensional accuracy. The
carbon/aluminium composite has been used for struts and foils of hydrofoils, and the
silicon carbide/aluminium composite has been employed in pressure hulls and torpedo
structures. The composites are also being increasingly used in the railway transportation
systems to build lighter bogeys and compartments. The other important area of
application of composites is concerned with fabrication of energy related devices such as
wind-mill rotor blades and flywheels.

15

The light artificial limbs and external bracing systems made of CFRP provide the
required strength, stiffness and stability in addition to lightness. Carbon fibres are
medically biocompatible. Composites made with carbon fibres and biocompatible metals
and polymers have been found to be suitable for a number of applications in
orthopaedics. A carboncarbon composite hip joint with an aluminium oxide head has
performed

satisfactorily.

Matrices

such

as

polyethylene,

polysulfone

and

polyaryletherketone reinforced with carbon fibres are also being used to produce
orthopaedic implants.
Composites also have extensive uses in electrical and electronic systems. The
performance characteristics of CFRP antennas are excellent due to very low surface
distortion. Composite antenna dishes are much lighter compared to metallic dishes.
Leadless ceramic chip carriers are reinforced with Kevlar or Kevlar-glass coweave
polyimides to reduce the incidence of solder joint microcracking due to stresses induced
by thermal cycling. The stress level is reduced by matching the low coefficient of
thermal expansion of ceramic chip carriers with that of tailored composites.
Composites are, now-a-days, preferred to other materials in fabrication of several
important sports accessories. A light CFRP golf shaft gives the optimum flexural and
torsional strength and stiffness properties in terms of accuracy and the distance travelled
by the ball. All graphite and graphite hybrid composite archery bows and arrows enhance
arrow speed with a flattened trajectory and increased efficiency. The reduction in weight
of a CFRP bobsleigh permits ballast to be added in the nose of the sleigh and thereby
improves the aerodynamic characteristics due to the change in the position of the centre
of gravity with respect to the centre of aerodynamic pressure. There are several other
interesting composite leisure time items such as skis, tennis and badminton rackets,
fishing rods, vaulting poles, hockey sticks, surf boards, and the list is likely to be endless
in the twenty-first century. The day is not far when common utility goods will be made
with composites. A few such examples are illustrated in Figs.1.5.

16

1.5 BIBLIGRAPHY
1. N.J.Hoff, Innovation in Aircraft Structures-Fifty years Ago and Today, AIAA
Paper No. 84-0840,1984.
2. R.J. Schliekelmann, A Soft and Hard Future - A Look into Past and Future
Developments of Structural Materials, AIAA International Annual Meeting on Global
Technology 2000, Baltimore, 1980.
3. S.M. Lee (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Composites, Vols.1-6, VCH
Publishers, New York 1990-1991.
4. J.W. Weeton, D.M. Peters and K.L. Thomas (Eds.) Engineer`s

Guide to

Composite Materials, American Soceity of Metals, Metals Park, Ohio,1987.

1.6 EXERCISE
1. What are the special features of a structural composite? Compare between
natural and man-made structural composites.
2. Why composites are favoured in engineering applications? Write a brief note
on their uses in various engineering disciplines.

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

CHAPTER-2
COMPOSITE MATERIALS

2.1 INTRODUCTION
From this chapter onwards we restrict our attention primarily to man-made
modern composites that are used in structural applications. The main constituents of
structural composites are the reinforcements and the matrix. The reinforcements, which
are stronger and stiffer, are dispersed in a comparatively less strong and stiff matrix
material. The reinforcements share the major load and in some cases, especially when a
composite consists of fibre reinforcements dispersed in a weak matrix (e.g., carbon/epoxy
composite), the fibres carry almost all the load. The strength and stiffness of such
composites are, therefore, controlled by the strength and stiffness of constituent fibres.
The matrix also shares the load when there is not much difference between the strength
and stiffness properties of reinforcements and matrices (e.g., SiC/Titanium composite).
However, the primary task of a matrix is to act as a medium of load transfer between one
reinforcement to the other. It also holds the reinforcements together. In that regard, the
matrix plays a very vital role. Besides, the matrix may considerably influence the hygral,
thermal, electrical, magnetic and several other properties of a composite. For example, to
obtain a good conducting composite with SiC fibres one may choose an aluminium
matrix rather than a titanium matrix. It may be noted that both the SiC fibres and the
titanium matrix possess very poor thermal conductivities.
The classifications of composites are commonly based on either the forms of
reinforcements or the matrices used. There are two major forms of reinforcements: fibres
(including whiskers) and particles (having various shapes and sizes). Accordingly, there
are two broad classes of composites fibre reinforced composites and particle reinforced
composites (or simply particulate composites). On the other hand, there are three
important groups of matrices, namely, polymers, metals (and their alloys) and ceramics.
The composites made using these matrices are classifies as polymer matrix composites
(or polymer composites), metal matrix composites and ceramic matrix composites.

24

Composites are also grouped in several other ways. One important class of composites is
termed as laminar composites. They are also called laminated composites or laminates. A
laminate usually consists of two or more layers of planar composites in which each layer
(also called lamina or ply) may be of the same or different materials. Similarly, a
sandwich laminate is a composite construction in which a metallic or composite core
layer is sandwiched between two metallic or composite face layers. The composite face
layers may also be in the form of laminates. Laminated and sandwich composite
structures are very strong and stiff, and are commonly recommended for lightweight
structural applications.

2.2 REINFORCEMENTS
2.2.1 Fibres
Fibres constitute the main bulk of reinforcements that are used in making
structural composites. A fibre is defined as a material that has the minimum 1/d ratio
equal to 10:1, where 1 is the length of the fibre and d is its minimum lateral dimension.
The lateral dimension d (which is the diameter in the case of a circular fibre) is assumed
to be less than 254 m. The diameter of fibres used in structural composites normally
varies from 5m to 140m. A filament is a continuous fibre with the l/d ratio equal to
infinity. A whisker is a single crystal, but has the form of a fibre.
Common low density fibres are manufactured from lighter materials especially
those based on elements with low atomic number (e.g., H, Be, B, C, N, O, Al, Si, etc.).
The cross-section of a fibre may be circular, for example as in the cases of glass, boron
and Kevlar fibres, but some fibres may have regular prismatic cross-sections (e.g.,
whiskers) or arbitrary cross-sections (e.g., PAN, rayon and special pitch based carbon
fibres). The irregularity in the cross-section may introduce anisotropy in the fibre. The
typical microstructural morphology of common fibres are shown in Fig.2.1.
From the micro-structure point of view, fibres can be either amorphous (glass),
polycrystalline (carbon, boron, alumina, etc.) or single crystals (silicon carbide, alumina,
beryllium and other whiskers). The strength and stiffness properties of a fibre are

25

significantly higher compared to those of the bulk material from which the fibre is
formed. Most of the common fibres are brittle in nature. The tensile strength of bulk
brittle material is considerably lower than the theoretical strength, as it is controlled by
the shape and size of a flaw that the bulk material may contain. As the diameter of a fibre
is very small, a flaw, it may contain, must be smaller than the fibre diameter. The smaller
flaw size, in turn, reduces the criticality of the flaw and thereby the tensile strength is
enhanced. For example, the tensile strength of an ordinary glass (bulk) may be as low as
100-200 MPa, but that of a S-glass fibre may be as high as 5000 MPa. However, the
tensile strength of a perfect glass fibre, based on intermolecular forces, is 10350 MPa.
Further, the orientation of crystallites along the fibre direction also helps considerably in
improving the strength properties. A whisker, being a single crystal, is not prone to
crystal defects unlike polycrystalline fibres and provides very high strength and stiffness
properties. The tensile strength and tensile modulus of a graphite whisker are as high as
25000 MPa and 1050 GPa, respectively. These values are quite significant compared to
those of commercial fibres. The typical longitudinal tensile properties of a commercially
available PAN based T300 fibre are 2415 MPa (strength) and 220 GPa (modulus).
Typical thermomechanical and thermal properties of common fibres are listed in Tables
2.1 and 2.2, respectively.
Both inorganic and organic fibres are used in making structural composites.
Inorganic fibres (including ceramic fibres) such as glass, boron, carbon, silicon carbide,
silica, alumina, etc. are most commonly used. The structural grade organic fibres are
comparatively very few in number. Aramid fibres are the most popular organic fibres.
Another recent addition is a high strength polyethylene fibre (Spectra 900) which has a
very low density and excellent impact resistant properties. The carbon fibres may also be
grouped with organic fibres, although they are more often considered as ceramic
(inorganic) fibres. Inorganic fibres in general are strong, stiff, thermally stable and
insensitive to moisture. They exhibit good fatigue resistant properties, but low energy
absorption characteristics. Organic fibres, on the other hand, are cheaper, lighter and
more flexible. They possess high strength and better impact resistant properties.

26

Table 2.1 Typical mechanical properties of selected fibres


Density kg/m3

Tensile
strength MPa

Tensile
modulus GPa

Diameter
m

Glass

2550

3450-5000

69-84

7-14

Boron

2200-2700

2750-3600

400

50-200

Carbon

1500-2000

2000-5600

180-500

6-8

Kevlar

1390

2750-3000

80-130

10-12

Polyethelyne

970

2590

117

38

Silica (SiO2)

2200

5800

72

35

Boron carbide
(B4C)

2350

2690

425

102

Boron nitride

1910

1380

90

6.9

Silicon
(SiC)

2800

4500

480

10-12

TiB2

4480

105

510

TiC

4900

1540

450

Zirconium oxide

4840

2070

345

Borsic(SiC/B/W)

2770

2930

470

107-145

Alumina(Al2O3)

3150

2070

210

17

Alumina FP

3710

1380

345

15-25

Steel

7800

4140

210

127

Tungsten

19300

3170

390

361

Beryllium

1830

1300

240

127

Molybdenum

1020

660

320

127

Quartz whisker

2200

4135

76

Fe whisker

7800

13,800

310

127

SiC whisker

3200

21,000

840

0.5-10

Al2O3 whisker

4000

20,700

427

0.5-10

BeO whisker

2851

13,100

345

10-30

Fibre Material

carbide

27

Density kg/m3

Tensile
strength MPa

Tensile
modulus GPa

Diameter
m

B4C whisker

2519

13,790

483

Si3N4 whisker

3183

13,790

379

1-10

Graphite whisker

2100

20,800

1000

Fibre Material

Table 2.2: Typical thermal properties of selected fibres


Fibre

Melting point
0
C

Heat
Capacity
kJ/(kg.K)

Thermal
conductivity
W/(mK)

Coefficient of thermal
expansion 10-6 m/mK

Glass

840

0.71

13

Boron

2000

1.30

38

Carbon

3650

0.92

1003

-1.0

Kelvar 49

250

1.05

2.94

-4.0

SiC

2690

1.2

16

4.3

Steel

1575

0.5

29

13.3

Tungsten

3400

0.1

168

4.5

Beryllium

1280

1.9

150

11.5

Molybdenum

2620

0.3

145

4.9

Fe whisker

1540

0.5

29

13.3

Al2O3 whisker

2040

0.6

24

7.7

Quartz Whisker

1650

0.963

10

0.54

Organic fibres as well as glass, silica, quartz and carbon fibres are commercially
available in the form of strands, tows or yarns. A strand (or end) is a collection of
filaments. A tow (or roving) consists of several ends or strands. A yarn is a twisted
strand. Some twist is preferred for compactness and for making a composite with higher
fibre content. However, an excessive twist should be avoided, as that may not permit the
matrix to penetrate and wet all the fibres. These fibres are also used to make woven
rovings and woven fabrics (clothes). The weave styles in the fabrics may be
unidirectional (uniaxial), bidirectional (biaxial 2D and biaxial 3D) and multidirectional

28

(multiaxial). In a uniaxial fabric wrap fibres are yarns that are laid along the roll. Fill/pick
fibres, which constitute only a small percentage of the wrap fibres, are placed in the weft
direction which is transverse to the roll direction. The weaving design methodology and
weaving techniques, in most cases, adapt similar procedures that are followed in textile
technology. A few typical weave styles are illustrated in Figs. 2.2 and 2.3. Commercial
woven rovings are made with a simple plain weave style, whereas fabrics for carboncarbon composites may adopt complex multidirectional weaving patterns. Hybrid fabrics
may also be produced by mixing of various fibres in the warp and weft directions. Woven
rovings and fabrics are quite often preimpregnated with resin to make prepregs that are
convenient to use in the fabrication of composite parts.

Glass Fibres
Glass was first made by man in 3000 BC in Asia Minor. Continuous glass fibres
were known to be used for decorative purposes in ancient times in Syria and Venice. The
industrial manufacturing of glass fibres started in 1930`s for use in filters and insulations.
Glass fibres currently comprise more than 90% of fibres used in polymer composites.
There are five major types of glass used to make glass fibres. These are A glass (high
alkali), C glass (chemical), D glass (low dielectric constant), E glass (electrical) and S
glass (high strength), out of which the last two types, due to their superior mechanical
properties, are most widely used in composite roofings, pressure vessels, containers,
tanks, pipes, etc.
E glass is a low alkali, aluminium borosilicate glass and is based on a mixture of
alumina, boric acid, calcium carbonate and magnesia. S-glass is based on a mixture of
silica, alumina and magnesia. For the manufacture of glass fibres, glass is premixed and
formed into glass marbles or beads. The glass marbles or beads are then melt, and the
molten glass is gravity fed, under a controlled temperature, through a platinum bushing
containing a large number of very small orifices. The melt vitrifies within the bushing,
and the filaments are simultaneously cooled and drawn rapidly to a small diameter.
Figure 2.4 presents a schematic view of a fibre drawing process. The surfaces of drawn
glass fibres are normally treated with appropriate sizing materials to promote adhesion
29

with the resin matrix used, to facilitate weaving without causing mechanical damage to
the fibre or to improve certain properties like, toughness and impact resistance. The
cross-section of glass fibre is circular in nature and the diameter is usually in the range of
7-14 m. A glass fibre exhibits isotropic properties. Glass fibres are cheap, nonmagnetic,
x-ray transparent, chemically inert, biocompatible, insensitive to moisture and
temperature as well as possess high specific strength (strength to density ratio). However,
a long duration loading under certain environmental conditions, may reduce the load
carrying capacity of fibres by about 25%. This behaviour is known as static fatigue.

Silica Fibres
The silica (Si02) content of silica fibres ranges from 95 to 99.4% and is usually
much higher compared to that of glass fibres. The glass fibres contain only 55 to 75%
silica. The silica fibres are produced by treating glass fibres with acids so as to remove all
impurities. A quartz fibre is a ultra-pure silica fibre. Quartz fibres are made from natural
quartz crystals, in which the silica content is as high as 99.95%. There are a few other
methods for producing high silica or quartz fibres. In one method, a polymer of silicon
alkoxide is spun using a sol-gel process and subsequent heating of the fibre to 10000c
yields a 99.999% pure quartz fibre. Silica and quartz fibres have superior thermal
properties compared to glass fibres. They have extremely low thermal conductivities and
thermal expansion coefficients. They can withstand extreme changes in thermal
environments. They can be heated to a very high temperature without causing any
damage. These properties make them ideal materials for application in highly heated
structures such as thermal shields, nose cones, rocket nozzles, exit cones, etc.

Boron Fibres
Boron fibres with consistent and good mechanical properties were first
manufactured in the 1960`s. Boron is a multiphase fibre. A boron fibre is produced by
depositing boron on a thin substrate by a chemical vapour deposition process. Substrates,
which are thin filaments, usually made of tungsten or carbon. The substrate (of dia.8-

30

12m) is fed in a plating chamber containing a mixture of hydrogen and boron trichloride
and is electrically heated (Fig. 2.5). The boron is deposited in an amorphous form on the
surface of the substrate filament due to the chemical reaction as given by
2BCl3 + 2H2 2B + 6HCl
The thickness of the deposited boron depends on the rate at which the substrate is passed
through the plating chamber. The boron coated fibre is normally fed to successive plating
chambers to increase the diameter of the fibre. The boron fibres are often treated
chemically to remove surface defects, thermally to reduce residual stresses or by
providing thin coatings (SiC, B4C or BN) to increase oxidization resistance and to make
compatible with metal matrices.
The boron fibre is marketed as a single filament. The boron filaments are now
available in diameters 50m, 100m, 125m,140m and 200m. The boron fibre with a
tungsten substrate is costlier than that with a carbon substrate. A carbon substrate also
reduces the density of the fibre. Boron fibres are usually impregnated with a resin to form
tapes, as they are too stiff to weave. Boron fibres exhibit excellent stiffness properties,
because of which they are used for stiffening of structural parts in aerospace applications.
Their tensile strength is also quite good. The thermal properties are, however, in the
intermediate range, although the melting point temperature is on the higher side.

Silicon Carbide and Boron Carbide Fibres


Like boron, there are several other multiphase fibres such as silicon carbide and
boron carbide. Silicon carbides are also vapour deposited on tungsten or carbon
filaments. The silicon carbide vapours are deposited when various chlorosilanes or their
mixtures are used as reactants. A typical reaction is given as
CH3SiCl3 SiC + 3HCl
The fibres are currently made in diameters of 100m and 140m. Silicon carbide fibres
in general exhibit good high temperature characteristics. They are compatible with
several lightweight alloys e.g., aluminium, nickel and titanium alloys. Silicon carbide on
a carbon substrate has several other merits over its counterpart (silicon carbide on a
31

tungsten substrate). It is cheaper and lighter. No reaction takes place between the
deposited silicon carbide and the carbon substrate at a high temperature. The tensile
strength is also on the higher side. The tensile strength and tensile modulus of a SiC
whisker is 21000 MPa and 840GPa, respectively. SiC whiskers are grown by combining
silicon and carbon at 1200-15000C under special conditions.
A boron carbide vapour deposited mantle on a tungsten filament substrate can be
formed using mixture of boron trichloride and methane or carboranes. A boron carbide
fibre can also be produced by heating carbon fibres in a chamber containing boron halide
vapour. The melting point of a boron carbide fibre is 24500C, and the fibre retains proper
ties at a temperature higher than 10000C.

Alumina Fibres
The commercial grade alumina fibre developed by Du Pont is known as alumina
FP (polycrystalline alumina) fibre. Alumina FP fibres are compatible with both metal and
resin matrices. These fibres possess a high melting point temperature of 20400C. They
also withstand temperatures up to 10000C without loss of strength and stiffness
properties. They exhibit high compressive strengths, when they are set in a matrix.
Typical longitudinal compressive strengths of alumina FP/epoxy composites vary from
2275 to 2413 MPa. Alumina whiskers exhibit the tensile strength of 20700 MPa and the
tensile modulus of 427 GPa.

Carbon Fibres
Carbon fibres are also commonly known as graphite fibres, although there are
some basic differences between the two types. Graphitization takes place at a much
higher temperature compared to the temperature at which carbonization takes place. The
carbon content in the graphite fibre is also higher and is usually more than 99%. The
manufacture of carbon fibres in the laboratory scale started in the early fifties. However,
carbon fibres were made commercially available only during mid-sixties. They are made
after oxidizing and carbonizing the organic textile fibre precursors at high temperatures.

32

There are three common types of precursors: polyacrylonitrile (PAN), rayon and
petroleum pitch. A typical fibre fabrication process based on a precursor is shown in Fig.
2.6. The molecular orientation already present in a precursor is formed along the fibre
axis. Carbonization takes place at lower temperature (at about 10000C). The carbonized
fibre is then treated at higher temperature to facilitate the graphitization process. The
degree of graphitization can be enhanced by raising the temperature further. Highmodulus PAN and Rayon based graphite fibres need as high as 25000C for proper
graphitization. High strength PAN-based carbon fibres are treated at about 15000C for
required carbonization. The carbon fibre microstructural morphology changes
considerably with the precursor used (Fig.2.1). This also affects the fibre-matrix interface
characteristics. The fibres in general exhibit anisotropic behaviour. The average
diameters of commercial fibres range from 6-8m.
Carbon fibres are produced in a variety of tensile strengths and tensile moduli.
They are accordingly designated as ultrahigh, very high, high or intermediate modulus
and high strength. The tensile strength and tensile modulus of carbon fibres may be as
high as 5600 MPa and 500 GPa, respectively. Typical properties of some high modulus
and high strength fibres are presented in Table 2.3. Carbon fibres have many other
positive attributes, for which they are most popular in aerospace applications. They can
withstand extremely high temperatures without loss of much strength and stiffness. The
thermal conductivity is high and at the same time the coefficient of thermal expansion is
almost negligible. These thermal characteristics make them outstanding candidate
materials for high temperature applications. Further, carbon fibres are non-magnetic, xray transparent, chemically inert, bio-compatible and insensitive to moisture to a great
extent.
Carbon fibres are much costlier compared to glass and other organic fibres. Their
application is, therefore, limited to strategic structural components, expensive sport goods
and biological implants.

33

Table 2.3: Typical properties of high performance carbon fibres

Type

Density

Tensile strength

Tensile modulus

Kg/m3

MPa

GPa

M40

1800

2740

390

M46

1900

2350

450

M50

1900

2450

490

T40

1800

5650

280

T75

1830

2620

545

T300

1770

3240

231

T400

1800

4500

250

T500

1800

5600

241

T800

1800

5600

290

Ultra high Modulus

1800

2240-2410

690-827

Aramid Fibres
These are aromatic polyamide fibres. These are based on polymers formed by
condensation of aromatic diacid derivatives with aromatic diamines. Kevlar is the trade
mark for the commercially available aramid fibres marketed by Du Pont first in the early
seventies. There are three types of Kevlar fibres: Kevlar, Kevlar 49 and Kevlar 29.
Kevlar 49 and Kevlar 29 fibres posses the same strength, but Kevlar 29 has the two-third
of the tensile modulus of Kevlar 49. Kevlar 29 is used for reinforcing rubber cordage and
belting. Kevlar is similar to Kevlar 49, but is designed for tyre reinforcement. Kevlar 49
fibres are commonly termed as Kevlar fibres and find extensive uses in pressure vessels,
motor cases and other structures where strength is the major design criterion. The
diameter of Kevlar fibres range from 8-12m.
Kevlar fibres, being organic in composition, are susceptible to hygral and thermal
environments. They are easily attacked by alkalis and acids. Each fibre is fibrillar in
nature and consists of several long, stiff fibrils (aligned along the fibre axis) embedded in

34

a softer matrix. Because of this microstructural morphology (Fig.2.1), Kevlar fibres are
very weak in compression (due to buckling of fibrils), but exhibit good impact resistance.
They are cheaper, non-magnetic, x-ray transparent and bio-compatible and resistant to
flame, organic solvents, fuels and lubricants.
2.2.2

Particulates
Particulates of various shapes and sizes are used as reinforcing particles. The

shapes vary from a simple sphere (e.g., glass beads) to a complex polyhedron (e.g.,
crystals). The size ranges from a few microns to several hundred microns. Particles of
various inorganic and organic materials are employed to make particulate composites.
However, they should be compatible with the matrix system used. Materials like talc,
clay, mica, calcium carbonate, calcium sulphate, calcium silicate, titanium oxide, wood
dust, sand, silica, alumina, asbestos, glass beads, metal flakes, metal powder, carbon
powder, ceramic grains and several polymeric particles are normally used. Besides
strengthening the composite, particles also serve other purposes. They act as additives to
modify the creep, impact, hygral, thermal, electrical, chemical and magnetic properties as
well as wear resistance, flammability and such other properties of the composite. They
may as well be utilized as fillers to change the matrix content and density of the
composite. The strength, stiffness and other properties of the composite are dependent on
the shape, size, distribution and blends of various particles in a given matrix and also on
the particle-matrix interface condition. Depending on the composite`s end use, the
volume content of the reinforcement may go up to 40-50%, or more.
Short fibres are discontinuous fibres and may also be treated as particles with
cylindrical shapes. Flakes/platelets are also commonly used. They are less expensive than
short fibres, and can be aligned to obtain improved in plane directional properties
compared to those of short fibres. Metal flakes (say, aluminium) can be used to improve
the thermal and electrical conductivity of the composite, whereas mica flakes can be
added to the matrix to increase the resistivity.
Solid glass microspheres, silicate-base hollow microspheres and ceramic
aluminosilicate macrospheres are used in reinforcing polymer matrices. The particle
diameter for solid glass microspheres ranges from 5 to 50m, whereas for hollow

35

microspheres it ranges from 10 to 300m. The spherical shape of these particles allows a
uniform distribution of stresses through the matrix. The composite also behaves like an
isotropic material. For a given volume, the surface required to wet with a resin is
minimum for a sphere. This permits to provide a smooth surface finish to a product
without increasing the resin content. One positive advantage with hollow microspheres is
that the weight can be considerably reduced without compromising on the strength of a
composite. The density of hollow microspheres ranges from 150 to 380 kg/m3 and is
considerably lower than that of the polymer matrix. The composite formed with hollow
microspheres is, therefore, lighter than the matrix itself.
Metal and ceramic matrices are also very commonly reinforced with particulates.
Aluminium alloys reinforced with silicon carbide particles are found to exhibit higher
strengths and stiffnesses. The tensile strength and Young`s modulus of the aluminium
alloy AA2124-T6 matrix reinforced with the silicon carbide particles (volume content by
40%) are observed to be about 690 MPa and 150 GPa, respectively. Ceramic grains of
borides, carbides, oxides, nitrides, silicides, etc. are dispersed in metal matrix to produce
a host of particulate composites known as cermets. Some cermets, if properly made, may
possess low density, but at the same time, may exhibit good thermomechanical
properties.

2.3

POLYMERS AND POLYMER COMPOSITES


Polymers (also known as plastics or resins) are far more popular than other two

matrix materials, namely, metals and ceramics. Almost all reinforcements, inorganic and
organic, can be used with polymers to produce a wide range of reinforced plastics or
polymer composites. Polymers are particularly attractive due to several reasons. The
densities of polymers are usually very low. Polymers are easily processable. The
processing and curing temperature are normally in the lower range, and in some cases,
the ambient temperature will suffice. This brings down the manufacturing cost
substantially due to a low energy input. Further, polymers constitute a wide class of
organic materials, each having a distinct characteristic feature. This makes them all the
more attractive from the point of view of developing composites having different

36

properties. Both thermoplastics and thermosets are employed in making reinforced


plastics. Polyethelene, polystyrene, polyamides, nylon, polycarbonates, polysulfaones,
etc. are common thermoplastics whereas thermosets are epoxy, phenolic, polyester,
silicone, bismaleimide, polyimide, polybenzimidazole, etc.
2.3.1 Thermoplastics
Although thermosets are commonly used in structural composites due to their
higher strength and stiffness properties, there is a growing interest in recent years to use
thermoplastics as well. The development of several high performance thermoplastics has
been primarily responsible for this new trend. The main advantage with thermoplastic
polymers is that they can be repeatedly formed by heat and pressure. A thermoplast is a
collection of high molecular weight linear or branched molecules. It softens upon heating
at temperature above the glass transition temperature, but regains its strength upon
cooling. The increase in temperature activates the random motion of the atoms about their
equilibrium positions and results in breakage of secondary bonds. The thermoplast
softens and results in breakage of secondary bonds. The thermoplast softens and flows
when pressure is also applied. When the temperature is lowered, new secondary bonds
are formed and the polymer reverts to its original structure. The process of softening at
higher temperature and regaining rigidity upon cooling is thus reversible in the case of a
thermoplastic polymer. This characteristic behaviour helps it to be recast and reused
several times. The repair of a damaged part also becomes simpler. The scrapage rate is
also reduced. All these make thermoplasts very much cost effective. A thermoplastic
polymer softens, but does not decompose unless the temperature is high enough to break
the primary covalent bonds.
Table 2.4 provides the typical thermo-mechanical properties of a couple of
structural grade thermoplastic resins. These high performance resins are thermally stable
at higher temperatures. They normally achieve high glass transition temperature Tg due

37

Table 2.4 Typical properties of some high performance thermoplastics


Polyether
ether
ketones
(PEEK)

Polyamideimide

Polyetherimide

Polysulfone

Polypheny
lene
sulfide

Density, kg/m3

1300

1400

1270

1240

1340

Tensile strength,
MPa

104

138

115

70

76

Tensile modulus,
GPa

4.21

4.48

3.38

2.48

3.31

Poissons ratio

0.35

0.35

0.35

0.35

0.35

Coefficient of
thermal expansion,
10-6m/m K

56

50

86.40

88

Maximum service
temperature, K

630

490

490

565

Properties

to their relatively stiff, linear chains and high molecular weight. They are also strong and
stiff and exhibit good creep resistant properties. They are relatively tougher and less
sensitve to moisture. The structures of these resins are illustrated in Fig. 2.7. All resins
are found to contain a high proportion of aromatic rings that are linked by a stable
heteroatom or group (-CO-, SO2-, -O-, etc.). This provides a high degree of chain rigidity
and thereby results in a higher Tg. In addition, the low aliphatic hydrogen (C-H) content
enhances the thermal stability of all these resins at high temperatures. PEEK and
polyphenylene sulfide are essentially crystalline polymers, and other resins shown in
Table 2.4 are amorphous. PEEK has received considerable attention since its inception.
The rigid rings, connected by fairly chemically inert groups (-o- and c-) make PEEK
highly crystalline. The melting point and chemical resistance of PEEK are also
considerably enhanced. PEEK has a Tg of 1430C and a melting point of 3320C. It is
soluble only in concentrated sulphuric acid. The processing temperature ranges 3004000C. The moisture absorption limit is very low. The fracture toughness is
comparatively higher. All these features of PEEK make it a highly attractive
thermoplastic resin for application in reinforced composites. Graphite/PEEK composite
prepregs are commercially available. Polysulfones reinforced with glass, aramid and
carbon fibres have also found several applications.
38

2.3.2

Thermosets
Thermoset polymers are formed from relatively low molecular weight precursor

molecules. The polymerization process in a thermoset resin is irreversible. Once cured,


they do not soften upon heating. They, however, decompose before softening upon
further heating. Cross-linked and interlinked reactions lead to formation of chain
molecules in two and three-dimension arrays. Because of three dimensional network of
covalent bonds and cross links, thermosetting resins are listed in Table 2.5. At high
temperature, the covalent bonds may break leading to destruction of the network structure
and the polymer decomposes. Thermosetting resins vary widely with Tg values varying
from 45-3000C and elongations ranging from 1% to more than 100%.

Table 2.5 Typical properties of some thermosetting resins


Properties

Epoxies

Polyesters

Phenolics

Polyimides

1100-1400

1200

1200-1300

1400

Tensile strength, MPa

35-100

50-60

50-60

100-130

Tensile modulus, GPa

1.5-3.5

2-3

5-11

3-4

Poissons ratio

0.35

0.35

0.35

0.35

Coefficient of thermal
expansion, 10-6m/mK

50-70

40-60

40-80

30-40

Service temperature, K

300-370

330-350

440-470

550-750

Density, kg/m3

The most commonly used thermosets are epoxy, polyester and phenolic resins, among
which polyster resins are most widely used in various common engineering goods and
composite applications. However, epoxy resins constitute the major group of thermoset
resins used in composite structures and adhesives, as they are stronger and stiffer.
Phenolic resins are rich in carbon and possess good thermal properties and are normally
used in high temperature applications especially as an ablative material in thermal
protection systems. Silicone, bismaleimide, polyimide, polybenzimidazol, etc. are in fact,
high temperature polymers that can perform at higher temperature ranging from 2004500C. The structures of some thermosetting resins are illustrated in Fig. 2.8.

39

Epoxy resins in general possess good thermomechanical, electrical and chemical


resistant properties. They are so called, because they contain two or more epoxide groups
in the polymer before cross-linking. This epoxide group is a three membered cyclic ether
O
C

which reacts with several reagents. It is commonly found in glycidyl

ethers and amines which are the major sources for epoxies in composite applications.
The common epoxy is synthesized by condensing epichlorohydrin with bisphenol A in
the presence of sodium hydroxide. Several other hydroxyl-containing compounds can
replace bisphenol A. A wide variety or special purpose resins can thus be prepared.
Some aerospace grade epoxy systems are based on an aromatic amine (glycidyl
amines) instead of a phenol to increase the epoxy functionality leading to high crosslink density in the cured resin. Epoxy resins are cured using suitable curing agents or
appropriate catalysts. The major curing agents are aliphatic amines, aromatic
polyamines and polyanhydrides. Curing is the processs of reaction (ionic reaction,
usually polyadditions) between the epoxide and the curing agent in which many
epoxide groups are formed. Aliphatic amines are relatively strong bases and therefore
react with aromatic amines to achieve cure at room temperature. The reaction is highly
exothermic, and the pot life is shorter. This epoxy resin is useful for contact moulding,
but not for prepregging and filament winding. Aromatic polyamines are normally
solids and require high temperature (100-1500C) for mixing and curing. Anhydrides
need higher thermal exposure (150-2000C) for a longer duration (8-16 hours) for
proper curing. The reaction is low exothermic, but the pot life is longer. Both
polyamines and anhydrides are suitable for prepreg manufacturing and filament
winding. These epoxy resins are characterized by comparatively high thermal stability
and chemical resistance. Catalysts can also be used along with curing agents to
accelerate the curing process. Catalytic agents that are often used as curing agents to
promote homopolymerisation of epoxide groups may be Lewis acids or bases. The
commonly used catalytic curing agent is boron trifluoride blocked with ethyl amine (a
typical Lewis acid). It is also used as a catalyst with aromatic amines to accelerate
curing at a temperature of 150-2000C. Lewis bases are normally used as accelerators
with anahydrides. Both Lewis acids and bases provide long pot lives.
40

A polyester resin is comprised of an unsaturated backbone polymer dissolved in a


reactive monomer. The polyester backbone polymer is formed by condensation of a
mixture of diabasic acids (saturated and unsaturated) and one or more glycols. The
components of the most commonly used polyester resin is phthalic anhydride (saturated
acid), maleic anhydride (unsaturated acid) and propylene glycol. The backbone polymer
is then diluted in styrene monomer (about 35% by weight). The solution is then blended
with an inhibitor such as hydroquinone to prevent premature polymeisation. The process
of curing is initiated by adding a source of free radicals (e.g., benzoyl peroxide or
hydroperoxide and catalysts (e.g., organic peroxides such as cobalt naphthenate or alkyl
mercaptans). Curing takes place in two stages: a soft gel is first formed and this is
followed by a rapid polymerization with generation of heat. A higher proportion of
unsaturated acid in the backbone polymer yields a more reactive resin, while with a
higher quantity of saturated acid the reaction becomes less exothermic. During curing, the
styrene monomer reacts with the unsaturated sites of the backbone polymer to form a
three-dimensional cross-linked network. A small amount of wax is often added to the
solution before curing to facilitate proper curing of the surface of a laminate. Wax, during
curing, exudes to the surface to form a thin protective layer that reduces loss of styrene
from the surface and prevents oxygen which inhibits reaction to come in contact with the
radicals. Several types of polyester resins are commercially available. Vinyl-ester resins
are high performance polyester resins, which are acrylic esters of epoxy resins dissolved
in styrene monomer. Polyester resins can be reinforced with almost all types of
reinforcements to make polyester composites. Polyester resins are cheaper and more
versatile, but inferior to epoxy resins in some respects. Their use in advanced structural
composites is therefore limited. However, they have been widely used in boat hulls, civil
engineering structures, automobile industries and various engineering products and
appliances.
The commonly used phenolic (phenol-formaldehyde) resins are divided into two
groups: resoles and novolacs. Resoles are one-stage resins which are synthesized with
formaldehyde/phenol ratio greater than one (1.25:1) in presence of an alkaline catalyst.
The polymerization process is not fully completed. It is stopped by cooling to obtain a
reactive and soluble polymer which is stored at low temperature. The final

41

polymerization process is initiated, during curing, by raising the temperature. The


novolacs, on the other hand, are two-stage resins, made with an acid catalyst. The ratio of
formaldehyde to phenol is kept about 0.8:1. In the first stage, the reaction is completed to
yield an unreactive thermoplastic oligomer which is dehydrated and pulverized. A curing
agent such as hexamethylenetetramine is added in the second stage, which decomposes
due to heat and moisture during final curing to yield formaldehyde and ammonia. The
ammonia also acts as a catalyst for curing. Resoles are used for prepregs and structural
laminates. Novolacs are normally used as moulding compounds and friction products.
Phenolic resins, as a whole, provide good dimensional stability as well as excellent
chemical, thermal and creep resistance, and exhibit low inflammability. Phenolics char
when exposed to the high temperatures and form a layer of carbon which in turn protects
the underlying composite from being exposed to high temperature. This characteristic
behaviour has made phenolic resins as candidate materials in making reinforced
composites for high temperature applications and thermal shielding.
Several high temperature thermosetting polymers are currently available, of which
polyimides, bismaleimides, polybenzimidazole, silicone, etc. are of special interest to
composite applications. Polyimides are made by polycondenstion of aromatic
dianhydrides and aromatic diamines. The reaction between dianhydride and diamine (at a
temperature lower than 1000C) first yields a soluble polyamic acid. Next cyclisation of
the polyimides retain their usable properties at 3000C (continuous exposure) and can
withstand an exposure of 5000C for a few minutes. Bismaleimides are addition
polyimides. Silicone polymers are formed by intermolecular condensation of silanols
which are produced from the halide or alkoxy intermediates. Both silicone and
polybenzimidazole resins are normally used in the intermediate temperature range (2002500C).
The reinforced plastics are very extensively used in engineering industries. Some
important structural applications of fibre reinforced polymer composites are listed in
Table 2.6.

42

Table 2.6: Applications fibre reinforced polymer composites


Composites

Uses

Aerospace
CFRP

Wing Skin, Front Fuselage, Control Surface Fin & Rudder,


Access Doors, Under Carriage Doors, Engine Cowlings,
Main Torsion Box, Fuel Tanks, Rotor Blades, Fuselage
Structures and Floor Boards of Helicopters, Antenna
Dishes, Solar Booms and Solar Arrays, etc.

BFRP

Horizontal and Vertical Tail, Stiffening Spars, Ribs and


Longerons, etc.

KFRP

Nose Cones, Wing Root, Fairings, Cockpit and Fuselage of


Helicopters, Motor Casings, Pressure Bottles, Propellant
Tanks, Other Pressurised Systems, etc.

GFRP

Floor Boards, Interior Decorative Panels, Partitions, Cabin


Baggage Racks and Several Similar Applications.

Structural
GFRP

Folded Plates of Various Forms, Both Synclastic and


Anticlastic Shells, Skeletal Structures, Walls and Panels,
Doors, Windows, Ladders, Staircases, Chemical and Water
Tanks, Cooling Towers, Bridge Decks, Antenna Dishes,
etc.

Marine and Mechanical


GFRP

Ship and Boat Hulls, Masts, Automobile Bodies, Frames


and Bumpers, Bodies of Railway Bogeys, Drive shafts,
Connecting Rods, Suspension Systems, Instrument Panels.

Sports
GFRP/CFRP

Skis, Ski Poles, Fishing Rods, Golf Clubs, Tennis and


Badminton Rackets, Hockey Sticks, Poles(Pole vault),
Bicycle Frames, etc.

43

2.4 METALS AND METAL MATRIX COMPOSITES


Polymer composites are used normally up to 1800C, but rarely beyond 3500C. The
high temperature capabilities of inorganic reinforcements cannot be realized, when
polymers are employed as matrix materials. Metal matrices, on the other hand, can widen
the scope of using composites over a wide range of temperatures. Besides, metal matrix
composites allow tailoring of several useful properties that are not achievable in
conventional metallic alloys. High specific strength and stiffness, low thermal expansion,
good thermal stability and improved wear resistance are some of the positive features of
metal matrix composites. The metal composites also provide better transverse properties
and higher toughness compared to polymer composites.
Table 2.7 provides the list of some metal matrices and associated reinforcing
materials. The reinforcements can be in the form of either particulates, or short fibres or
continuous fibres. Cermets constitute an important group of metal matrix composites in
which ceramic grains of sizes greater than 1 m are dispersed in the refractory metal
matrix. A typical example is the titanium carbide cermet which comprises of 70% TiC
particles and 30% nickel matrix and exhibits high specific strength and stiffness at very
high temperatures. The thermo-mechanical properties of some common matrices are
presented in Table 2.8. The aluminium matrices include several alloys such as AA 1100,
AA 2014, AA6061, AA 7075, AA5052, etc. The composites with aluminium matrices are
relatively lightweight, but their applications are limited to the lower temperature range
Table 2.7: Metal matrices and reinforcements
Matrix
Aluminium and alloys

Reinforcements
C, Be, SiO2, B, SiC, Al2O3, Steel,
B4C, Al3Ni, Mo, W, ZrO2
B, SiC, Mo, SiO2, Be,ZrO2
C, Be, Al2O3,SiC, Si3N4, steel, W,
Mo, B
C, B, glass, Al2O3
B, ZrO2
Fe, Steel, B, Al2O3, W, SiO2,ZrO2
C,B, Al2O3, E-glass

Titanium and alloys


Nickel and alloys
Magnesium alloys
Molebdenum and alloys
Iron and Steel
Copper and alloys

44

Table 2.8: Typical thermomechanical properties of some metal matrices


Matrices

Density
kg/m3

Tensile
strength
MPa

Tensile
modulus
GPa

Coefficient
thermal
expansion
10-6m/mk

Thermal
conduct-vity
W/(mk)

Heat
capa-city
KJ/
(kg.k)

Melting
point
0
C

AA6061

2800

310

70

23.4

171

0.96

590

Nickel

8900

760

210

13.3

62

0.46

1440

Ti-6AL-4V

4400

1170

110

9.5

0.59

1650

Magnesium 1700

280

40

26

100

1.00

570

Steel

7800

2070

206

13.3

29

0.46

1460

Copper

8900

340

120

17.6

391

0.38

1080

because of its low melting point. Titanium and nickel can be used at a service
temperature of up to 1000-11000C. There are several systems such as engine components
which are exposed to high level of temperature. Titanium and nickel composites are ideal
for such situations, as they retain useful properties at 1000-11000C. Ti-6AL-4V is the
commonly used titanium matrix material. The other alloys of titanium include A-40Ti, A70Ti, etc. Nickel matrices are comprised of a series of Ni-Cr-W-Al-Ti alloys. Super
alloys, NiCrAlY and FeCrAlY, are also used as matrices because of their high oxidation
resistance properties. Molybdenum is a high temperature matrix and fibre material. Iron
and steel matrices are cheaper and can be used at high temperatures, if the weight is not
the major concern. Figure 2.9 exhibits a fractograph of the Al2O3 fibre reinforced Mg
alloy ZM21 composite. A scanning electron micrograph of the Al2O3 fibre reinforced AA
2014 composite is shown in Fig. 2.10.
The high temperature applications of metal matrix composites are listed in Table
2.9. The material cost is the major problem that currently limits their uses, otherwise

45

most of the metallic structural parts can be replaced with metal matrix composite parts to
gain advantages.
Fig.2.9

Fig.2.10

Table 2.9: High temperature application of composites

Composites
MMCs

Applications
Aeroengine Blades, Combustion Chamber, Thrust
Chamber, Nozzle Throat, Exit Nozzle, Engine
Valves, Fins.

CMCs

Re-entry Thermal Shields and Tiles, Nozzle Throat,


Nozzle Linings, Pump Seal Rings, Break Linings,
Extrusion Dies, Valves, Turbochargers, Turbine
Blades, Cutting Tools

Carbon-Carbon

Nose Cones of Re-entry Vehicles, Combustion and


Thrust Chambers, Nozzle Throats, Exit Nozzles,
Leading Edges of Re-entry Structures, Brake Discs.

2.5 CERAMIC MATRIX COMPOSITES


Ceramic provide strength at high temperature well above 15000C and have
considerable oxidation resistance. They possess several desirable attributes like high
elastic modulus, high Peierl`s yield stress, low thermal expansion, low thermal
conductivity, high melting point, good chemical and weather resistance as well as
excellent electromagnetic transparency. However, the major drawback of ceramics is that
they exhibit limited plasticity. This low strain capability of ceramics is of major concern,

46

as it, quite often, leads to catastrophic failure. For this reason ceramics are not considered
as dependable structural materials. But such limitations may not exist with ceramic
matrix composites, as suitable reinforcements may help them to achieve desirable
mechanical properties including toughness. The ceramic matrices are usually glass, glass
ceramics (lithium aluminosilicates), carbides (SiC), nitrides (SiN4, BN), oxides (Al2O3,
Zr2O3, Cr2O3, Y2O3, CaO, ThO2) and borides (ZrB2, TiB2). The reinforcements which are
normally high temperature inorganic materials including ceramics, may be in the form of
particles, flakes, whiskers and fibres. The commonly used fibres are carbon, silicon
carbide, silica and alumina. The current resurgence in the research and development of
ceramic matrix composites is due to their resistance to wear, creep, low and high cycle
fatigue, corrosion and impact combined with high specific strength at high temperatures.
The cutting rate of an alumina-SiC whisker cutting tool is ten times higher than that of
conventional tools. The use of ceramic composites in aero-engine and automotive engine
components can reduce the weight and thereby enhance the engine performance with
higher thrust to weight ratios due to high specific strength at high temperatures.
Automotive engines exhibit greater efficiency because of their low weight, better
performance at high operating temperatures and longer life time due to excellent
resistance to heat and wear. Several high temperature applications of ceramic matrix
composites are presented in Table 2.9.
Carbon-carbon composites are the most important class of ceramic matrix
composites that can withstand temperatures as high as 30000C. They consist of carbon
fibres distributed in a carbon matrix. They are prepared by pyrolysis of polymer
impregnated carbon fibre fabrics and preforms under pressure or by chemical vapour
deposition of carbon or graphite. The polymers used are of three types: thermosets
(furfurals, phenolics), thermoplastic pitches (coal tar based and petroleum based) and
carbon-rich vapours (hydrocarbons such as methane, propane, acetylene, benzene).
Phenolic resins are more commonly used in the manufacturing process of carbon-carbon
composites. The phenolic resin impregnated carbon fibre preforms, on pyrolysis, converts
the phenolic resin to a high proportion of amorphous carbon char. The composite material
is found to be porous after the first pyrolysis. It is further impregnated with the phenolic
resin and pyrolised, usually under vacuum and pressure, and the process is repeated

47

several times to reduce the void content and realize the optimum density of the material.
The major advantage of carbon-carbon composite is that various fabrics and shapes of
preforms with multidirectional fibre alignments can be impregnated with resins and
pyrolised to yield a wide class of one directional (1D), two directional (2D), three
directional (3D) and multidirectional composite blocks of various shapes and sizes, which
can be machined to produce the desired dimensions. Excellent wear resistance, higher
coefficient of friction with the rise of temperature, high thermal conductivity, low thermal
expansivity and high temperature resistance make them useful materials in high
temperature applications. In absence of oxygen, carbon-carbon composites can withstand
very high temperatures (30000C or more) for prolonged periods. They are also used in
prosthetics due to excellent biocompatibility.

2.6 LAMINATE DESIGNATION


The structural applications of composites are mostly in the form of laminates.
Laminates provide the inherent flexibility that a designer exploits to choose the right
combination of materials and directional properties for an optimum design. A lamina is
the basic building block in a laminate. A lamina may be made from a single material
(metal, polymer or ceramic) or from a composite material. A composite lamina, in which
all filaments are aligned along one direction parallel to each other, is called a
unidirectional lamina. Some unidirectional laminae are illustrated in Fig. 2.11. Here the
fibres (continuous) are oriented along a direction parallel to the x1 axis. Note that the x1',
x2' axes are the material axes, and the x1, x2 axes are the reference axes. The orientation of
the fibre with respect to the reference axis (i.e., x1 axis) is known as the fibre angle and is
denoted by (in degrees). A unidirectional lamina is designated with respect to the fibre
angle . For example, a 00 lamina corresponds to =00, a 900 lamina corresponds to
=900 and so on.
Fig. 2.11
A laminate is designated by the manner laminae are stacked to form the laminate.
For example, a (00/450/900) laminate (Fig. 2.12) is one in which one 00 lamina is placed
at the top, one 900 lamina is placed at the bottom and one +450 lamina and one -450
48

lamina are kept at the middle. Unless it is specified, it is normally assumed that all the
laminae in a laminate possess the same thickness. A cross-ply laminate consists of only
00 and 900 laminae. An angle-ply laminate, on the other hand, contains only laminae.
A laminate may be considered symmetric, antisymmetric or unsymmetric, in case there
exists, with respect to the middle surface, any symmetry, antisymmetry or unsymmetry,
respectively. Figures 2.13 and 2.14 illustrate several cross-ply and angle-ply laminates. It
should be further noted that a [ (00/900)n ] laminate is an antisymmetric cross-ply laminate
consisting of n numbers of repeating two-layered (00/900) cross-ply laminates. The total
number of laminae in a [ (00/900)n ] laminate is 2n. However, a [ (00/900)ns ] laminate is a
symmetric cross-ply laminate. It has symmetry about the midsurface of the laminate. The
top half of the laminate contains n number of repeating of repeating two-layered (00/900)
cross-ply laminates. The bottom half consists of n number of two-layered (900/00) crossply laminates so that the symmetry about the mid-surface is maintained. Note that the
subscript `s` stands for symmetry and the number of laminae in a [ (00/900)ns] laminate is
4n. The laminates containing repeating () angle-plies can also be identified in a similar
way.
A general unsymmetric laminate may contain 00 laminae, 900 laminae and/or
laminae stacked in an arbitrary manner. For example, [ (00)4 / (900)2], [(900)2/ (300)2] and
[00/900/300/600] are all general unsymmetric laminates. An unsymmetry may also be
introduced by stacking laminae made of different composites. A [00c/900g /00k] laminate
consists of a top layer of 00 carbon fibre reinforced composite, a middle layer of 900 glass
fibre reinforced composite and bottom layer of 00 Kevlar fibre reinforced composite and
is an unsymmetric cross-ply hybrid laminate. Various such hybrid laminates can be
prepared for practical applications choosing various combinations of layers of metallic
materials, polymer composites, metal-matrix composites and ceramic composites. The
ARALL is a hybrid laminate consisting of alternate layers of aramid/epoxy composite
and aluminium alloys. Aramid epoxy composites are commonly combined with carbon
epoxy composites to make carbon-kevlar hybrid composites to obtain a cost effective
composite with superior compressive and impact resistant properties. Kevlar fibres are
inexpensive compared to carbon fibres and are effective in resisting the impact forces.

49

Carbon fibres, in turn, improve the compressive strength in the carbon-kevlar


hybridization.

2.7 BIBLIOGRAPHY
1. J.W. Weeton, D.M. Peters and K.L. Thomas (Eds.), Engineer`s Guide to
Composite Materials, American Society for Metals, Metals Park, Ohio, 1987.
2. S.M. Lee (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Composites, Vols. 1-4, VCH Publications, New
York, 1990-1991.
3. R. Smith, Resin Systems, in Processing and Fabrication Technology, Delware
Composites Design Encyclopedia, Vol.3 (Eds. M.G. Bader, W. Smith, A.B.
Isham, J.A. Rolston and A.B. Metzner), Technomic Publishing Co., Inc.
Lancaster, 1990, p.15.
4. B.C. Hoskin and A.A. Baker (Eds.), Composite Materials for Aircraft Structure,
AIAA Education Series, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc.,
New York, 1986.

2.8 EXERCISES
1. Why fibres are preferred to other reinforcements ? What are whiskers ? Describe
how fibres are fabricated using vapour deposition processes.
2. What are carbon-carbon composites and how they are produced ?
Why they are recommended for high temperature applications ?
3. Write a note on metal matrix composites.
4. Write a note on ceramic matrix composites.
5. Describe the characteristics of a couple of thermosets and thermoplastics that are
used for making composites for aerospace applications.
6. Why Kevlar fibres are recommended for strength and impact based structural
designs? What are the basic differences between organic and other fibres ?
50

51

52

53

54

55

56

57

58

59

CHAPTER 3
COMPOSITE MANUFACTURING

3.1 INTRODUCTION
Manufacturing is a very broad discipline and encompasses several processes such
as fabrication, machining and joining. The fabrication methodology of a composite part
depends mainly on three factors: (i) the characteristics of constituent matrices and
reinforcements, (ii) the shapes, sizes and engineering details of products and (iii) end
uses. The composite products are too many and cover a very wide domain of applications
ranging from an engine valve, or a printed circuit board laminate, or a large-size boat hull
or to an aircraft wing. The fabrication technique varies from one product to the other. The
matrix types (i.e., whether they are plastics, metals or ceramics) play a dominant role in
the selection of a fabrication process. Similar process cannot be adapted to fabricate an
engine blade made with fibre reinforced plastics and metal matrix composites. The
process parameters may also have to be modified, even when one uses the same matrix
type, but two different matrices. For example, the processing with phenolics requires
additional heating, whereas epoxies can be processed under ambient conditions.
Particulate reinforcements and short fibres are mixed with resin to produce either bulk
moulding composite compounds (BMCs) or sheet moulding composite compounds
(SMCs) which are then used as base materials to fabricate composite parts. One method
commonly used with BMCs is the injection moulding in which the BMC is heated and
then injected into the mould cavity. On the other hand, the comparable moulding method
used for woven fibre fabrics is the resin injection moulding. The process parameters like
temperature, injcection pressure and curing time vary from one method to the other.
Moreover, a composite car body panel, though highly curved and complex in shape may
be compression moulded, while a spar stiffened helicopter rotor blade may have to be
fabricated using filament winding and other moulding methods. Further, the accuracy and
sophistication required to fabricate an aircraft composite wing section may not be
necessary while fabricating a composite bridge deck or a silo. The main purpose of this
chapter is to outline briefly the basic features of common composite fabrication methods.
No attempt is made to elaborate the actual fabrication procedure of a particular composite
component, as this is beyond the scope of the present book.

60

3.2 MOULDING PROCESS FOR POLYMER MATRIX COMPOSITES


Important moulding methods for fabrication of polymer matrix composite
structural parts may be classified under matched die mould, contact mould (also called
open mould), filament winding and pultrusion. There are two important stages in all
moulding processes: laying and curing. The laying is the process in which moulding
materials are laid on a mould in the mould cavity or on the mould surface that conforms
to the shape of the part to be fabricated. The process of curing helps the resin to set,
thereby providing the fabricated part a stable structural form.
The moulding materials are obviously reinforced plastics, either in the form of
separate resin and reinforcements, or in the form of composites like bulk moulding
compound (BMC), sheet moulding compound (SMC) or prepregs. These composite
forms of moulding materials eliminate the mess of using wet resins during the lay-up
process. A bulk moulding composite compound is prepared by mixing chopped strands or
particulate reinforcements with a pre-mixed resin (normally polyester resin) paste. Fillers,
thickeners, catalysts and other additives are also blended. The final mix is, either in the
bulk form or extruded in the form of a rope and then stored for future use in the matcheddie compression moulding process. A sheet moulding compound is, on the other hand,
fabricated in the form of a sheet. Chopped strands or other particulate reinforcements are
sandwiched between two layers of polyester resin pastes coated on two polyethylene
carrier films. This resin-reinforcement-resin sandwich covered on two sides by the carrier
films is thoroughly compacted by forcing it through a series of rollers and stored as rolls.
Sometimes, continuous rovings are also added in between two resin layers to improve
directional properties. Carrier films are removed prior to using them in moulds. BMCs
and SMCs can be used in several moulding processes. The temperature, pressure and
curing time of BMCs and SMCs are dependent on the type of the compound and the
shape of the finished part. Prepregs are prepared by pre-impregnating fibre fabrics with
resin. The system is only partially cured. The final cure takes place during the moulding
process. Prepegs can be used in all important moulding processes. However, high quality
products are realized, when curing is done in an autoclave. Prepegs yield superior
products having all kinds of shapes with uniform resin content and consistent quality.

3.2.1 Matched-die Mould Methods


Several moulding techniques fall under the matched-die moulding method. The
common feature in all these techniques is that the mould consists of two parts that form a
cavity in between them. The shape of the cavity corresponds to that of the part to be
moulded. The moulds are usually fabricated with cast iron, steel and aluminium alloy.
61

Fibre reinforced plastics or wooden moulds are also used in some cold moulding
processes. The mating surfaces of the moulds are first polished, cleaned and coated with a
release agent. Next a gel coat is applied. The gel coat is a special resin that sticks to the
surface of the moulded part during curing and provides it with an excellent surface finish.
Pigments and other additives are also added to the gel coat resin for colouring as well as
improving its resistance to wear, corrosion, heat, flame, weathering, etc. The gel coat is
not provided, when the moulded part is to be adhesively bonded to another part, as the
coat may not allow proper bonding. Both thermosetting and thermoplastic resins are used
in the moulding materials. Thermoplastics in general and some thermosets in particular
need process temperature higher than the ambient temperature. This is met by heating
either the mould or the moulding. Venting ports are provided in the moulds for escape of
excess resin and volatile matters.
Compression moulding is the most commonly used matched-die moulding
method. It is employed in fabrication of automobile body panels, housings for electrical
appliances and machines, covers, sinks and several other parts. Typical moulds are shown
in Fig. 3.1. The moulds can have a single cavity or multiple cavities with complex curved
shapes. Provision may exist to heat either or both the moulds. The pressure is applied by
mounting the moulds in a mechanical or hydraulic press or by some external means. The
precise application of pressure and temperature and their duration and cycles can be
controlled. The process can also be easily automated. On application of pressure and
temperature, the mould material softens and then flows and fills the mould cavity.
Further, continuation of heat and pressure accelerates curing. The dimensions close to
those of the desired finished part can be obtained in compression moulding. This reduces,
to a great extent, subsequent trimming and machining. The moulding material may be a
predetermined quantity of BMC, SMC, resin coated preforms/fabrics or prepregs. It is
laid on the mould and then the moulds are closed. A barrier along the edge prevents the
resin to flow out. The depth of the barrier also controls the thickness of the part. Heat and
pressure are applied during curing. Once the curing is complete, the mould is opened and
the part is removed.
Some resins like polyesters and epoxies are highly exothermic and may not
require external input of heat during curing. The moulding material with these resins can
be cold pressed. Cold press moulding is relatively less expensive and is suitable, when a
part is smaller in size and simpler in shape (flat or slightly curved panels).
Cold stamping is also similar to compression moulding, but is normally used with
thermoplastic sheets. The thermoplastic sheets are preheated, laid on the mould along
with reinforcements and then cold pressed. An extension of this method to continuous

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production of fibre reinforced thermoplastic laminates is illustrated in Fig. 3.2. Alternate


layers of fibre fabrics and thermoplastic films are fed through hot rollers that melt the
resin and force it to penetrate and coat the individual fibres. The consolidated laminate is
then passed through cold rollers which cure and harden the laminate.
Conforming is also a matched-die moulding process specially developed to
provide superior surface finish and durability to a composite part. A thermoformed thin
thermoplastic layer is first placed on the mould (Fig. 3.3). The moulding composite
material (BMC, SMC or resin-coated fabric) is then laid on the top of the thermoformed
thermoplastic layer and hot pressed. The thermoplastic layer then sticks to the moulded
part thereby providing it with a smooth surface having excellent properties. Various
additives can be premixed in the thermoplastic layer to obtain desirable surface
properties.
Press moulding is again similar to the compression moulding process, but it is
used to make flat, slightly curved and corrugated laminates. For production of good
quality laminates with uniform resin content, a perforated release film (e.g., Teflon film
with perforations every 50 mm) and a bleeder (e.g., glass cloth, jute cloth or absorbent
paper) are placed on both sides of the composite part (Fig. 3.4). In some applications, a
peel ply (e.g., nylon cloth) is also used to achieve the required surface finish. On the
application of pressure the excess resin is squeezed out and passes through the pores of
nylon cloth and perforations of Teflon film and gets absorbed by the bleeder. The
pressure is applied normally at the time of gelation to avoid excess loss of resin and to
allow uniform resin distribution. The uniform flow of excess resin out of the moulding
can be achieved by applying vacuum to one of the surfaces (here in Fig. 3.4 either the top
or the bottom surface) of the mould cavity.
Injection moulding is a matched-die moulding process especially suitable for
thermoplastic resin systems. Some thermosets can also be injection moulded. If the
reinforcements are in the form of particles or very short fibres, they along with other
additives, if any, can be premixed with resin. The mix is first heated in an injection
chamber. The hot fluid mix is then forced into the closed mould cavity under high
pressure and is allowed to cure. The cure part is removed after opening the mould. The
method is suitable for fabrication of small to medium size parts such as valves, gears,
instrument panels, etc.
If the reinforcements are in the form of preforms or fibre fabrics, they are laid in
the mould cavity and the fluid resin is then injected into the mould cavity. The process is
known as resin injection moulding. The injection pressure helps the resin to infiltrate
through the fibre lay-up. A vacuum is also applied to the mould cavity to facilitate the

63

penetration and even distribution of resin. For larger mouldings such as boat hulls, resin
is injected at several locations. Also, cold cure resins of low viscosity and long gel time
are preferred, as the injection time is longer in such applications.
In the reaction injection moulding, measured quantities of two liquid precursors
such as a polyol and an isocyanate are mixed in a chamber and then injected into the hot
mould cavity containing pre-laid reinforcements. Chopped strands and particulate
reinforcements can also be blended with precursors prior to injection. The process is
normally used for polymethane based systems and requires a relatively low injection
pressure. It is highly suitable for mass production of composite parts.

3.2.2 Contact Mould Methods


Contact mould methods are also known as open mould processes. In the open
mould, there is only one mould (male or female) and as the name suggests the mould
surface is open. A composite part is fabricated in contact with the open surface, and the
shape of the open surface conforms to that of the moulded part (Fig. 3.5). The moulds are
normally fabricated from cast iron, steel and aluminium alloy for application in hot
processes, and fibre reinforced plastics and wood for cold processes. The mould surface
is cleaned and polished prior to moulding and is filled up with coating of a release agent
and a gel. The moulding materials are normally resin-coated woven rovings and fabrics,
chopped strand mats and prepregs. These are laid on the mould by either the hand lay-up
process or the spray-up process. In the hand lay-up process woven rovings, fabrics and/or
chopped strand mats are placed layerwise on the release agent and gel coated mould
surface. After laying of each layer, it is coated with resin using a brush or a spray gun.
Some time gap is allowed for the applied resin coat to gel, before laying the next layer
and applying resin to it. Squeegees or rollers are used for uniform distribution of resin
and consolidation for the laminate. In the spray-up process, chopped strands or particulate
reinforcements and the resin are sprayed separately to the mould surface. In some
applications, continuous fibre strands are fed to a combined chopper and spray gun
system by which chopped fibres and resin are sprayed simultaneously to the mould. After
completion of the laying up process, the moulding is allowed to cure. Curing is done
either at room temperature conditions or by heating the mould assembly in an oven. In
the case of prepregs the hand lay-up process is employed. However prepregs do not
require additional resin coating.
For compact and voidless finished products of higher mechanical properties, other
improved moulding processes such as vacuum bag moulding, pressure bag moulding
processes such as vacuum bag moulding, pressure bag moulding and autoclave moulding
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are preferred. An improved open mould set-up with pre-curing lay-up details that are
generally employed in a vacuum bag moulding, is shown in Fig. 3.6. The whole
moulding system is covered with a flexible vacuum bagging film made of nylon or
neoprene rubber. The edge of the bag is sealed using vacuum sealing compounds. Layers
of vent cloth, perforated Teflon film, fiberglass bleeders, Teflon coated fiberglass fabrics
and nylon peel ply, in that order, are kept between the vacuum bag and the composite layup. When vacuum is applied, these materials allow attainment of uniform vacuum
throughout and provides path for escape of volatiles, trapped air and excess resin from
the composite lay-up. The vacuum also induces uniform atmospheric pressure on the top
surface of the mould assembly and thereby helps in uniform distribution of resin and
futher consolidation of the laminate. It also provides better finished surfaces. The whole
assembly can be put in an oven or an external heating arrangement can be made, if a high
temperature curing is needed.
In the case of pressure moulding, the vacuum bag is replaced by a pressure bag
and the whole system is covered by a pressure plate (Fig. 3.7). The required pressure is
then applied through an inlet pipe located at the cover plate. In this method, it is possible
to apply pressure higher than one atmosphere. The higher pressure ensures proper
consolidation and densification of the composite lay-up. However, the method cannot be
applied to a male mould.
Autoclave moulding is a highly sophisticated process in which controlled
temperature and pressure can be applied. In addition, vacuum is also applied to suck
volatile matters and entrapped air or gases. The whole assembly as shown in Fig. 3.6 is
put inside an autoclave (Fig. 3.8) which is a pressurized cylindrical hot chamber. Curing
takes place in presence of simultaneous pressure and temperature. After curing, the
mould is taken out of the autoclave and the cured composite is laid with prepregs, as it
permits controlled variation of prescribed temperature and pressure with respect to time.
It yields highly densified and voidless quality products and is therefore greatly favoured
in fabrication of all major aerospace components like aircraft wing parts, control surfaces,
helicopter blades, filament wound rocket cases, pressure bottles, etc.

3.2.3 Filament Winding


The filament winding process is employed for fabrication of a continuous fibre
reinforced composite structure having an axis of revolution. Common examples of such
structures are tubes, pipes, cylindrical tanks, pressure vessels, rocket motor cases, etc.
Continuous fibre strands or rovings are first coated with resin in a resin bath and then fed

65

through rollers to squeeze out excess resin and finally wound, under constant tension,
around a collapsible mandrel. The outer diameter of the mandrel corresponds to the inner
diameter of the part to be fabricated. The mandrel is usually made of steel. However,
other materials like plastic foam and rubber are also used in fabrication of some
mandrels. A steel mandrel can be so designed that it can be dismantled mechanically and
removed part by part without damaging the filament wound composite part. Some foam
mandrels can be chemically dissolved. An inflated rubber mandrel can be collapsed by
deflating it. The mandrel is positioned, either horizontally (for helical winding) or
vertically (for polar winding), on a carriage that moved back and forth along the direction
parallel to the rotational axis. In addition to the translational (axial) motion induced by
the carriage, the mandrel can also rotate about its own axis. Both rotational and axial
motions of the mandrel can be properly controlled either manually or using an automatic
system. The rotation of the mandrel about its axis of revolution facilitates winding of
filaments on the outer surface of the mandrel.
There are basically two types of filament winding patterns: helical winding and
biaxial winding. In the helical winding (Fig. 3.9) a constant angle (known as helical
angle) is maintained by controlling the rotational and axial motions of the mandrel. By
reversing both axial and rotational motions, the filaments are wound with a minus helical
angle, -. Structural components having circular cylindrical shapes like tubes, pipes and
cylinders are normally fabricated with alternating helical angle + and . When the
filaments are wound at an angle = 900, the winding is called hoop winding. Similarly,
when =0, it is termed as axial winding. In the biaxial winding pattern, there may exist a
combination of either hoop winding and axial winding pattern commonly employed for
filament winding of circular cylindrical closed end vessels (with or without small end
openings), such as motor cases and pressure tanks, is known as polar winding or polar
wrap (Fig.3.10). A combination of both polar and hoop winding is normally provided for
proper strengthening in the circumferential direction. After winding is complete, the
mandrel is removed from the carriage and placed in an oven, if required, for curing.
Filament wound products for aerospace applications are normally cured in an autoclave.
For such curing, vacuum bagging as described earlier, of the mandrel assembly has to be
carried out before placing it in an autoclave. After curing, the mandrel is dismantled and
the finished part is removed. Filament winding yields a component with a high degree of
fibre volume fraction. Prepreg tapes can also be wound in similar ways.
Filament winding can also be used, when the shape of the part is not a shell of
revolution. The winding is first carried out on an inflated mandrel made of rubber. The
mandrel is deflated, once winding is complete. The deflated filament wound component

66

is placed in a closed match-die mould and the mandrel is inflated again to apply pressure
from inside. The mould is simultaneously heated to facilitate curing. The cured finished
part has the outer shape same as the inner shape of the mould. Several non-circular
sections (e.g., box section and airfoil sections) can be fabricated using this technique.
Braiding is another form of filament winding process and is employed in
fabrication of bars, tubes, bends, etc. with both circular and non-circular hollow sections.
It is carried out on an axially moving mandrel which is positioned through the central
hole of a rotating ring. A number of spools containing continuous rovings are mounted on
the ring. The fibres are pulled out from these spools and wound around the moving
mandrel creating an inter-woven winding pattern which provides high interlaminar
properties.

3.2.4 Pultrusion
Pultusion, to some extent, is analogous to the metal extrusion process. In the
pultrusion process continuous fibre reinforced structural sections can be produced by
pulling the resin-coated filaments through a die unlike in the metal extrusion process,
where hot metallic rods, bars and flats are pushed through a die to produce extruded
parts. The pultrusion process is schematically shown in Fig. 3.11. Continuous fibre
strands taken from a number of spools are sequentially pulled through a resin bath, a
shaping guide and a hot die (or a cold die and an oven). The fibres are coated in the resin
bath and the excess resin is squeezed out. The shaping guide provides a gradual change
from a simpler to a more complex pre-formed shape close to that of the pultruded part.
For example, to obtain a pultruded channel section, a flat form with no flanges is
gradually changed to a channel section of desired dimensions. The final shape is realized
when the preformed shape is pulled through a hot die and gets cured. Continuous strand
mats and woven fabrics can also be pulled along with filament strands to provide better
transverse properties to the pultruded sections. The die is a very critical component in the
fabrication process. It is usually made of chromium plated steel and should have a highly
smooth surface. A smooth surface inhibits sticking of the resin at the entry segment,
where only the gelation of resin, but not curing has been initiated. Thermosets like
epoxies and polyesters are normally used in the pultrusion process. Phenolics can also be
used, but have to be preheated. Experimentation with thermoplastics has also been carried
out. Pultrusion is a continuous process and therefore provides scope for automation. A
pultursion machine SPACETRUDER, designed and developed at Vikram Sarabhai
Space Centre, Trivandrum, India is shown in Fig. 3.12. It can produce continuous lengths

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of FRP sections such as rounds, square bars, channels, angles, etc. using glass, carbon or
aramid fibres and epoxy or polyester resins.

3.3 FABRICATION PROCESSES FOR METAL MATRIX COMPOSITES


Aluminium, magnesium, titanium and nickel alloys are commonly used as metal
matrices, although several other matrix materials including super alloys have also been
used. Both metal and ceramic reinforcements are employed. The choice of a particular
matrix-reinforcement system is mainly controlled by the end use of the fabricated
composite part. Several parameters influence the selection of a particular fabrication
process. These are (i) types of matrices and reinforcements, (ii) the shape, size,
orientation and distribution of reinforcements, (iii) the chemical, thermal and mechanical
properties of reinforcements and matrices, (iv) shape, size and dimensional tolerances of
the part and (v) finally the end use and cost-effectiveness. Compared to standard
metallurgical processes, fabrication methods for metal matrix composites are much more
complex and diverse. Some problems that are of major concern are the densification of
the matrix while maintaining its purity, the control of reinforcement spacing and proper
chemical bonding between the matrix and reinforcements. Based on the physical state of
the matrix i.e., solid phase and liquid phase, fabrication processes can be grouped under
solid phase processing and liquid phase processing. In the solid phase processing, the
matrix is in the form of sheet, foil or powder. The diffusion bonding and power
metallurgy processes are the two major solid phase processing techniques, while casting
(also known as liquid metal infiltration) processes are related to liquid phase processing.
Solid phase processing has certain advantages over liquid phase processing. The
processing temperatures are lower, diffusion rates are slower and the reaction between
reinforcements and the matrix is less severe. Secondary processes like forging, rolling,
extrusion and superplastic forming are also important, as much care is needed to reduce
damage to reinforcements.

3.3.1 Diffusion Bonding


The diffusion bonding employs the matrix in the solid phase, in the form of sheet
or foil. Composite laminates are produced by consolidating alternate layers of precursor
wires or fibre mats and metal matrix sheets or foils under temperature and pressure
(Fig.3.13). The precursor wires are collimated filaments held together with a fugitive
organic binder. This is achieved either by winding binder-coated filaments onto a circular
cylindrical mandrel or by spraying the binder on the filaments that are already wound on

68

a mandrel. When the solvent is evaporated, the fibre-resin combination forms a rolled
fibre mat on the mandrel surface. The binder resin in precursor wires and fibre mats
decomposes at a high temperature without leaving any residue. Under temperature and
pressure metal sheets or foils melt and diffuse through fibre layers to form a laminate. A
multilayered laminate may have any desired stacking sequence. A monotape (i.e., a
unidirectional lamina) in which a precursor layer or a fibre mat is sandwiched between
two metal sheets or foils, forms the basic building block. Several complex composite
components can be fabricated by stacking monotapes as per design requirements. The
temperature, pressure and their duration are very critical for making good quality
composites. Carbon fibres have been successfully combined with matrices like
aluminium, magnesium, copper, tin, lead and silver to make a wide range of carbon fibre
reinforced metal composites. A number of products ranging from flat plates to curved
engine blades have been fabricated using the diffusion bonding technique. One
interesting example is the 3.6m long high gain antenna boom that acted as a wave guide
for the Hubble space telescope. The boom is made with diffusion bonded carbon fibre
reinforced aluminium (AA 6061) composite and is of tubular cross-section with internal
dimensional tolerances of 0.15 mm. Several other composites, for example, boron,
beryllium and steel fibres in aluminium alloy matrix have been manufactured using the
diffusion bonding process. Large composite sheets can be produced by employing the
vacuum hot rolling technique.
3.3.2 Powder Metallurgy Process
Almost all metals and their alloys can be converted into powder form. Metal
powders are commonly produced by atomization techniques. A stream of molten metal is
disrupted either by impacting another fluid (gas or water) jet under high pressure or by
applying mechanical forces and electrical fields leading to formation of fine liquid metal
droplets which then solidify resulting in fine powder particles. The inert gases, argon and
nitrogen, are used in the gas atomization, and the resulting powder particles are smooth
and spherical with 50-100m diameter. The impact of very high intensity gas pulse
waves in supersonic and ultrasonic gas atomization can lower particle sizes to 10m. The
water jet impact produces irregular particles (75-200 m diameter). Both gas and water
contaminate particles with oxygen. In another method, known as vacuum atomization, the
liquid metal supersaturated with gas under pressure is suddenly allowed to expand in
vacuum causing the liquid to atomise and produce spherical powders with diameters
ranging between 40-150m. In the rotating electrode technique, a prealloyed electrode is
rotated at a high speed (about 250 rps) while it is melted by an arc or plasma beam.
Spherical droplets of the molten material are ejected centrifugally and, on being cooled in
an inert environment, produce high quality, spherical powders with 150-200m diameter.
69

The centrifugal atomization process combined with rapid solidification yields spherical
powders less than 100m diameter. Both the electrohydrodynamic atomization in which
an electrical field is applied on the surface of a liquid metal to emit droplets and the spark
erosion technique, where repetitive spark discharge between two electrodes immersed in
a dielectric fluid produces metal vapour, thereby yielding very fine powders with
diameter as low as 0.5 m or less.
Powder metallurgy is a versatile process but its application to fabrication of metal
matrix composites may not be straight-forward, especially because of the presence of
reinforcement phase.
There are quite a few composite fabrication techniques using continuous fibres of
which two processes that use hot pressure bonding need special mention. In one process
(known as powder cloth process), metal powder filled clothes are first produced by
mixing metal matrix powders with an organic binder and then blending with a high purity
Stoddard solution. On application of low heat, the Stoddard solution evaporates leaving
behind a dough-like mixture which, on rolling, yields a metal powder cloth. Alternate
layers of powder clothes and fibre mats, when hot press bonded, form a composite
laminate (Fig.3.14). The binders usually burn out without leaving any residue. When the
reinforcements are in the form of short fibres and particulates, metal matrix powder and
reinforcements are thoroughly blended, and the blend is degassed to remove volatiles and
then a composite ingot is formed by either hot pressing in vacuum or hot isostatic
pressing. The composite ingot is subsequently used to fabricate structural components
using secondary fabrication processes. Major problems are encountered in controlling the
shape, size and distribution of reinforcements in the matrix. The alignment of short fibres,
elongation of particulates i.e., a sphere changing to an oblate or nonspherical shape, and
uniform dispersion or clustering are the common occurrences that influence the
microstructure of the composite. Figure 3.15 shows an optical micrograph of SiC
particulate (30% by volume)/AA2124 composite a) in the vacuum hot pressed condition
showing the necklace structure of particulate reinforcement around the matrix particles
and b) in the as extruded condition showing the elimination of necklace structure and
improved distribution.
In the thermal spray processes, metal powders, are deposited on the fibre
substrates using either plasma spray or arc spray techniques and composites are
subsequently produced by consolidating these metal matrix coated fibres under heat and
pressure. The plasma spray technique is employed to deposit spherical metal powders
that are injected in the plasma stream (the temperature is about 10,000K and the traveling
speed is around Mach 3) within the throat of the gun. The powder particle size is very

70

critical, because the powder should melt, but not vapourise before it reaches the substrate.
The arc spray technique uses continuous metal matrix wires of 0.16-0.32 cm diameter
instead of metal powders. Two wires of opposite charge are fed through an arc spray gun.
The electric arc produced between the wire tips causes the tips to melt. An argon gas
stream that passes through the gun and between the wires, carries with it droplets of
molten metal and deposit them on the fibre substrates. Both plasma spray and arc spray
techniques have been used to produce composite monotapes by winding continuous
fibres on a mandrel and then spraying metal matrix powders on them. These monotapes
are subsequently used to fabricate structural components using the diffusion bonding
process.
The powder metallurgy process has been used to produce composites such as
boron, carbon and borsic fibres with aluminium alloy, SiC fibres with cromium alloys,
boron and Al2O3 fibres with titanium alloy, tungsten and molybdenum fibres with nickel
alloy and several other composite systems.
3.3.3 Casting
Casting or liquid infiltration is the process in which molten matrix is infilatrated
into a stack of continuous fibre reinforcements or discontinuous reinforcements (short
fibres and particulates) and is then allowed to solidify between the inter-reinforcement
spaces. In the case of discontinuous reinforcements, they can also be pre-mixed with
molten matrices prior to casting, using techniques such as mechanical agitation, mixing
by injection with an injection gun, centrifugal dispersion and dispersion of pellets
(formed by compressing the metal matrix and reinforcements) in a mildly agitated melt.
This pre-mix or the composite slurry is used for subsequent casting. There are several
casting methods that can be used to produce metal matrix composite components. Some
important casting methods are sand and die castings, pressure die castings, centrifugal
casting, squeeze casting and investment casting.
In the sand and die casting process, the preferential concentration of
discontinuous reinforcements, either at the top or at the bottom depending on their
densities lower or higher than the metal matrices, takes place in view of the slow cooling
rate of sand moulds. A more uniform dispersion or dispersoids can be achieved by
agitating the mix, cooling the mould or employing a metal mould. The pressure die
casting produces relatively void free composites and permits fabrication of large-size
parts with intricate shapes. In the centrifugal casting, solidification takes place in a
rotating mould. In this process, the centrifugal acceleration forces the heavier
discontinuous reinforcements to concentrate near the outer periphery and the lighter ones
lie closer to the axis of rotation. Squeeze casting (also known as liquid forging) is the

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process in which the molten matrix is infiltrated, under high pressure, onto a preheated
stack of discontinuous reinforcements or fibre performs laid on a metal die. Solidification
takes place also under pressure. Several critical components have been developed using
squeeze casting. The Toyota piston, made of ceramic fibre and aluminium matrix, is one
such example. In the investment casting, continuous fibre reinforcements are laid using
usual filament winding or prepreg laying procedures. Composites are then produced by
infiltrating the lay-up with a molten matrix under pressure or vacuum.
Casting is the most commonly used process for manufacture of metal matrix
composites. Figure 3.16 exhibits a graphite/aluminium composite ingot and its composite
products.

3.4 FABRICATION PROCESS FOR CERAMIC MATRIX COMPOSITES


Ceramic such as glass, glass-ceramics, borides, carbides, graphite, nitrides and
silicates reinforced with both metallic and ceramic particles, whiskers and fibres provide
enhanced strength and toughness even at high temperatures. Some ceramic composites,
especially, carbon-carbon composites exhibit remarkable strength properties at a
temperature as high as 20000C or more. The fabrication processes for ceramic matrix
composites are, in many ways, similar to those for metal matrix composites. As in the
powder metallurgy processes for MMCs, short fibres and particulate reinforcements are
mixed with ceramic powders and then hot pressed to produce CMC products. Common
dispersion particles are SiC, TiC, BN and ZrO2. SiC whiskers are very commonly used to
reinforce matrices such as glass, ZrO2, B4C, Al2O3, cordierite, Si3N4 and several other
ceramics. They are rod or needle shaped single crystal short fibres with diameter ranging
from 0.1-5.0 m and length 5-200 m. SiC whiskers which apparently look like powders
and ceramic powders are thoroughly mixed and then hot pressed to make composite. The
proper mixing of SiC whiskers and ceramic powders is critical to produce composites
with desirable properties. This is usually carried out using high shear mixing, ultrasonic
dispersion, milling and several other mixing methods. The cutting tools for high nickel
alloys employ SiC whisker reinforced alumina. They provide cutting rates up to ten times
higher than conventional tools. Due to excellent wear resistance of SiC whisker
reinforced composites at high temperatures, these materials find wide uses in dies for
metal extrusion, heat engine valves, grit blast nozzles and other high temperature
applications. The plasma spray techniques, as employed in metal matrix composites, has
also been used in ceramic composites.
Hot pressing and sintering of ceramic materials normally require high temperature
and pressure at which reinforcements degrade due to chemical reactions on the
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reinforcement-matrix interface. A number of glass systems such as lithium


aluminosilicate (LAS), magnesium aluminosilicate (MAS), barium magnesium
aluminosilicate (BMAS), etc. have been hot pressed at relatively lower temperature
without causing any damage to the reinforcement. Transfer moulding and injection
moulding techniques have also been successfully carried out using glass systems.
Infiltration of molten ceramics is also a common fabrication process for ceramic
matrix composites. The high melting points of ceramics, however, may degrade the
reinforcements. One way to circumvent this problem is to use polymer precursors that
bring down the process temperature. However, during the conversion of a polymer
precursor to the ceramic matrix, a lot of volatile matters escape causing shrinkage of the
matrix. The matrix also becomes porous. The porosity can be reduced to a large extent by
reimpregnation. Several precursor polymers have been studied to produce SiC and Si3N4
matrices. In the sol-gel technique, gels are used to aid uniform infiltration of matrices.
For example, tetrafunctional alkoxides are employed to infiltrate oxide matrices. This
reduces the fibre damage to some extent due to lower viscosity of the gel-mixed slurry,
but the shrinkage problem remains.
Reaction sintering (also known as reaction bonding or reaction forming)
eliminates some of the problems associated with hot press sintering and liquid
infiltration, such as fibre damage, matrix shrinkage, porosity, etc. In this process, ceramic
matrices are reaction formed. A typical example is the Si3N4 matrix, which is reaction
formed by nitriding Si powder. The SiC matrix has also been successfully reaction
bonded. The reaction sintering process seems to have great potential, although the
process is not yet fully developed. The main drawback is that the resulting composite
may have excessive porosity.
In the chemical vapour deposition process (more often called as chemical vapour
infiltration), a ceramic matrix is chemically vapour deposited on the surfaces within a
fibre preform. The preform is kept in a high temperature furnace (reactor). A carrier gas
(H2, Ar, He, etc.) stream passes through a vessel containing gaseous reagents and carries
their vapour into the reactor. In the reactor, the chemical reaction of gaseous reagents
leads to the formation and deposition of ceramic matrix vapour on the heated surface of
the preform. Other reaction powders diffuse out of the preform and are carried by the
flowing gas stream out of the furnace. The deposition process continues, until all the inter
fibre spaces are filled up resulting in a homogeneous and more or less void free
composite. The main advantage of this process is that it causes minimum damage to the
fibres, as the process temperatures and pressures are relatively lower compared to those
in hot press sintering and liquid infiltration. Also this process permits fabrication of

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composite parts with irregular shapes. The deposition reaction may be of reduction,
thermal decomposition or displacement type. A typical reaction such as
CH3 Si Cl3 SiC + 3 HCL
is responsible for deposition of SiC vapour. The reagents and vapour deposition
temperatures for a few ceramic matrices are listed in Table 3.1. Plasma has also been
used to assist chemical vapour deposition, for example, as in the case of SiO2 matrix.
The deposition process is carried out under any of these conditions: (i)
maintaining a uniform temperature through out the preform i.e., isothermal condition, (ii)
providing a thermal gradient through the thickness of the preform, (iii) isothermal, but
forcing the flow of reactant gases into the preform, (iv) both with thermal gradient and
forced flow and (v) with pulsed flow, i.e., cyclic evacuation and filling of the reactor
chamber with reactants.
Carbon-carbon composites are fabricated by either resin impregnation and
subsequent carbonization or chemical deposition of carbon vapour. The latter process has

Table 3.1: Typical ceramic matrices, reagents and vapour deposition temperatures
Ceramic Matrix
ZrB2
HfB2
TiC
SiC
B4C
Si3N4
BN
Al2O3
Cr2O3
SiO2
Y2O3
ZrO2
TiSi2
C

Reagents
ZrCl4, BCl3, H2
HfCl4, BCl3, H2
TiCl4, CH4, H2
CH3 SiCl3, H2
BCl3, CH4, H2
SiCl4, NH3, H2
BCl3, NH3, H2
AlCl3, CO2, H2
Cr (CO)6, O2
SiH4, CO2, H2
YCl3, CO2, H2
ZrCl4, CO2, H2
TiCl4, SiCl4, H2
CH4

* plasma assisted

74

Deposition temperature,
o
C
1000-1500
1000-1600
900-1600
1000-1600
1200-1400
1000-1550
1000-1300
500-1100
400-600
200-600 *
1200
800-1200
1400
900-2250

been found to yield superior carbon-carbon composites and has been used to produce
aerospace components such as aircraft brake discs and engine exit nozzles, nose cones,
rotors, combusters, etc. A hydrocarbon reagent, e.g., CH4 may be used along with
hydrogen, nitrogen or any inert gas for chemical deposition of carbon vapour on a carbon
fibre substrate (perform).

3.5 MACHINING
Machining is an important stage of the overall manufacturing process. It helps to
realize finished products with specified dimensions, surface finish and tolerances.
Conventional machining processes require direct contact between the cutting tool and the
part to be machined. The quality of the machined part and the tool wear are two major
concerns in these machining processes. The performance and integrity of the machined
part depend primarily on the quality of machining. The removal of material in a metallic
alloy is based on a shear process. The material removal in a composite may be totally
different from that in metals and their alloys. The application of conventional metal
cutting tools in composites leads to flaws such as fibre damage, delamination and
cracking which are not encountered in metal cutting. The presence of these defects and
tool wear has been observed while applying the machining processes such as shearing,
abrasive cutting, grinding, profiling, punching and drilling on fibre reinforced
composites. Even the use of high speed drilling has not been found to be very much
effective in reducing the fibre damage or tool wear. Tool wear has always been a major
problem in machining composite parts. It depends on the feed rate, cutting speed, cutting
direction, temperature, and relative hardness properties of the tool material and the
composite part to be machined as well as several other parameters. The highest tool wear
is observed for a particular combination of feed rate and cutting speed. The tool wear rate
is found to be inversely proportional to the hardness of the tool, when the tool is harder
than the composite to be machined. Diamond tools normally exhibit a longer tool life.
Tungsten-carbide tools and silicon-carbide grinding wheels are also useful. It is difficult
to machine boron fibre composites because of extreme hardness of boron fibres. Some
special problems arise during machining of aramid fibres. These can be tackled using
specially designed tools which are commercially available.
There are several non-conventional machining methods which avoid direct
contact between the machine and the work piece, thereby eliminating the problem of tool
wear and improving the quality of the machined component. A narrow laser beam of 0.1
mm diameter or less with a power in excess of 108 W/cm2 can be directed to cut various
composite materials. The CO2 laser system with 10.6 m wavelength has been

75

successfully used to machine fibre reinforced polymer composites. A ND:YAG


(neodymium/yttriumaluminium-garnet) laser system with wavelength of 1.06m and 200
pulses per second, can be used to cut metal composites. The water jet cutting process
employs a jet cutting nozzle of 0.13 mm diameter and water pressure in excess of 350
MPa. In the abrasive water jet process, abrasive particles are added to the jet stream to
facilitate the cutting process. Both these water jet methods are used in cutting both
metallic and non-metallic composites. The electrical discharge machining process is
based on erosion caused by an electrical spark developed between an electrode and the
part to be machined in the presence of a dielectric fluid and has been effectively used to
machine composite parts which are electrically conductive. Other non-conventional
machining processes such as electrochemical machining, electron beam machining and
ultrasonic machining also have good potential in composite applications. One of the
primary disadvantage with all these non-conventional machining processes is that it may
not be possible to induce shape changes, as is done by conventional processes. However,
these unconventional processes, in most cases, lead to high quality cuts with minimum
fibre damage, delamination and cracking as well as excellent surface finish.

3.6 JOINING
A joint is an essential element in a structural system. However, it is the weakest
link, and therefore the selection of a particular type of joint, its fabrication and/or
assembly need careful consideration. There are two basic types of joints, bonded and
mechanically fastened, which are also applicable to all composite systems. Bonded joints
are preferred, because of their efficient load transfer which is primarily through shear in
the bond layer. The bond shear stress as well as direct or induced peel stresses can be
controlled by configuring and designing the joint properly. Some of the common bonded
joint configurations are illustrated in Fig. 3.17. The mechanically fastened joints (bolted,
riveted, etc.), on the other hand, are relatively inefficient because of high stress
concentrations around bolt holes. The process of load transfer in a mechanically fastened
joint, especially involving deformable bolts or pins and composites, is very complex. The
modes of failure in a typical single-pin bolt joint are shown in Fig.3.18. The residual
strength of such a joint is quite low and is usually less than a half of the composite
laminate strength. However, mechanical fastening is a practical necessity in view of ease
of repeated dismantling and assembly as well as repairability.
Bonded joints are again of two types adhesive bonded and fusion bonded or
welded. An adhesive bonded joint normally involves application of an adhesive layer on
the overlapping surfaces of the adherends. The adhesive layer is usually a thermosetting

76

resin. The bonded joints are, therefore, highly effective for composites with thermosetting
resins. They are also good for metal and even ceramic joints, provided they are not
exposed to temperatures higher than the tolerable limit of the adhesive. The surface
treatment of adherends, prior to the application of the adhesice layer, is necessary to
achieve better adhesion properties. But the thermosetting adhesive layer is not compatible
with thermoplastic composites. Thermoplastic composite adherends need to be fusion
bonded. In fusion bonding no new material is added. The process involves surface
preparation, heating and melting of the bond surfaces, pressing for intermolecular
diffusion and entanglement of the polymer chains and cooling for solidification. The
bond surfaces are treated mechanically and/or chemically to remove all contaminations
including loose particles, dirt, release agent, oil, etc. The heating and melting are carried
out using any of the welding techniques employed in plastics. In the hot-plate welding
process, the surfaces to be bonded are heated by making contact with a hot plate. The hot
gas welding normally employs a hot gas. In the case of a butt joint, similar to that of a
metal joint, a thermoplastic welding rod is also used to fill the joining gaps. The
resistance implant welding rod is also used to fill the joining gaps. The resistance implant
welding is an internal heating method and requires an electrical resistive element to be
embedded on the bond surface. Heating is done by passing an electric current through the
resistive element. There are several other ways of external and internal heating, namely
induction welding, laser and infrared heating, dielectric and microwave heating, friction
heating, vibration welding and ultrasonic welding.
For joining metal matrix composite parts, in addition to adhesively bonded and
mechanically fastened joints, several other joining methods that are used in joining
metals and their alloys can be employed. These are brazing, soldering, diffusion welding,
fusion welding, resistance welding, ultrasonic welding, laser welding and electronic beam
welding. These techniques have been employed in several metal matrix composite
systems, e.g., B/Al, C/Al, Borsic/Al, B/Ti, SiC/Ti, W/Ti, C/Mg, Al2O3/Mg and several
others. The joint efficiencies are found to vary between 25-60%. However, higher
efficiencies have also been noted in some cases, and a joint efficiency as high as 98% has
been realized in the fusion welding of Al2O3 fibres. The fusion bonding or welding of
ceramic matrix composite parts with ceramic marix and metal matrix composite parts,
has not yet been properly investigated.

77

3.7 BIBLIOGRAPHY
1. G. Lubin (Ed.), Handbook of Composites, Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., NY, 1982.
2. Mel M. Schwrtz (Ed.), Fabrications of Composite Materials, American Society
for Metals, Metals park, Ohio, 1985.
3. Mel M. Schwarts (Ed.), Composite Materials Handbook, McGraw Hill Book Co.,
NY, 1984.
4. S.M. Lee (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Composites, Vols. 1-6, VCH
Publications, New York, 1990-1991.
5. J.W. Weeton, D.M. Fosters and K.L. Thomas (Eds.), Engineers Guide to
Composite Materialals, American Society of Metals, Metals Park, Ohio, 1987.
6. N.P. Cheremisinof (Ed.), Handbook of ceramics and Composites, Vol. 1, Marcel
Dekker, Inc., NY, 1990.

3.8 EXERCISES
1. Describe briefly various moulding processes of composites.
2. Describe an appropriate method of fabrication of an open-ended rectangular
thin-walled box section with the wall consisting of 00/900/450/900/00
laminations.
3. Write notes on (i) filament winding and (ii) pultrusion.
4. Describe the fabrication processes for metal matrix composites.
5. Describe the fabrication processes for ceramic matrix composites.
6. Discuss the joining techniques for MMCs and CMCs.

78

79

80

81

82

83

84

85

86

87

88

89

90

91

92

93

94

95

CHAPTER 4
COMPOSITE PROPERTIES MICROMECHANICS

4.1 INTRODUCTION
The mechanical and hygrothermal properties of composites are of paramount
importance in the design and analysis of composite structures. The mechanical properties
constitute primarily the moduli and strength properties. The hygrothermal properties are
coefficient of expansion due to moisture (), misture diffusion coefficient (d), coefficient
of thermal expansion (), thermal conductivity (k) and heat capacity (c).
Micromechanical analyses concern with the theoretical prediction of these properties of
constituent fibres and matrices as well as several other parameters like the shape, size and
distribution of fibres, fibre misalignment, fibre-matrix interface properties, void content,
fibre fracture, matrix cracking and so on. The studies in micromechanics utilize micromodels, as the fibre diameters usually vary in the microscopic scale between 5-140 m.
The micro-models should simulate the microstructure of a realistic composite, but that
usually makes the models highly complex. The problems involving such complex models
are normally tackled utilizing advanced analytical methods as well as numerical analysis
techniques(finite element and finite difference methods). Even in the case of a complex
model, a simplified idealization with a reasonably good approximation of the real
composite is desirable otherwise it may lead to nowhere. It is not intended in this chapter
to present the complete theoretical basis of various micro-models used for the analytical
prediction of all composite properties. The presentation is limited to only a few simpler
cases so as to acquaint the reader of the background of the development in this area.
Additional micromechanics relations for unidirectional composites, that may find use in
design applications, are listed in Table 4.1. Typical properties of some of the common
fibres and matrices are listed in Tables 4.2 and 4.3, respectively. The composite
properties of a few composite systems derived using some of the relations presented in
this chapter are listed in Table 4.4. Tables 4.1 through 4.4 are included at the end of this
chapter.

4.2 UNIDIRECTIONAL COMPOSITES


4.2.1 Elastic Properties (Engineering Constants)
The stress-strain relation provides the basic interface between a material and a
structure. For a one dimensional isotropic, elastic body, the Hooke's law = E defines
96

the stress-strain behaviour. Here E is a material constant and is usually referred as elastic
constant (engineering constant) or Young's modulus. Besides E, the other conventional
engineering constant for a two-dimensional or three-dimensional isotropic body is
Poisson's ratio . The shear modulus G is not independent, but is related to E and as
G = E/2(1+ ). A composite material is essentially heterogeneous in nature, therefore the
engineering constants, defined above, for an isotropic material are not valid. We consider
here a three-dimensional block of a unidirectional composite (Fig. 4.1), in which fibres
are aligned along the x'1 axis. The elastic behaviour for such a three-dimensional body
, E33
(three Young's moduli
is orthotropic, and the engineering constants are E11 , E22
along three principal material axes x'1, x'2, x'3), '12, '13, '23, '21, '31, '32, (six Poisson's
ratios) and G'12, G'13, G'23, (three shear moduli). Of these, the first nine engineering
constants i.e., three Young`s moduli and six Poisson ratios are not independent. Due to
symmetry of compliances (see Eq. 6.18) these are related as given by

12

11

13 13
;

22 11

23
31
;

33 22

32

(4.1)

33

Note that,

'12 = '22 / '11 , '13 = '33 / '11 , '23 = '33 / '22


'21 = '11 / '22 , '31 = '11 / '33 , '32 = '22 / '33

(4.2)

Here '12 and '13 are usually referred as major Poisson ratios.
The 'mechanics of materials approach' provides convenient means to determine
the composite elastic properties. It is assumed that the composite is void free, the fibrematrix bond is perfect, the fibres are of uniform size and shape and are spaced regularly,
and the material behaviour is linear and elastic.
Consider a two-dimensional unidirectional lamina (Fig. 4.2), in which we define a
small volume element which represents not only the micro-level structural details but also
the overall behaviour of the composite. A simple representative volume element consists
of an isotropic fibre embedded in an isotropic matrix (Fig. 4.2b). This volume element is
further simplified as shown in Fig.4.2c, in which the fibre is assumed to have a
rectangular cross-section with the same thickness as the matrix. The width ratio is chosen
to be the same as the fibre volume fraction of the composite itself. The objective is to
derive the composite properties (E'11, E'22, '12, G12) in terms of the moduli, Poisson`s
ratios and volume fractions of the fibre and the matrix.

97

Longitudinal modulus , E'11


The micro-model (Fig. 4.2c) is subjected to a uniaxial tensile stress `11 as shown
in Fig. 4.3. It is assumed that plane sections remain plane after deformation. Hence,
'11= '11f = '11m = L/L

and

'11f = E'11f '11, '11m = E'11m '11, '11 = E'11 '11

Now, '11 W = '11f Wf +

'11m Wm

(4.3)
(4.4)

Substituting Eq. (4.3) into Eq. (4.4) and rearranging, we have


E'11 = E'11f Wf / W + E'11m Wm / W

(4.5)

Noting that the volume fractions of the fibre and the matrix are
Vf = Wf /W and Vm = Wm / W respectively, Eq. 4.5 reduces to
E'11 = E'11f Vf + E'11m Vm

(4.6)

Equation 4.6 defines the composite property as the 'weighted' sum of constituent
properties and is often termed as the 'rule of mixture'.

Transverse modulus, E'22


The tensile stress '22 is applied along the x'2 direction (Fig. 4.4) and the same is
assumed to act both on the fibre and the matrix. The strain on the fibre and the matrix are
'22 f = '22 / E'22f and '22m = '22 / E'22m

also

'22

and

W = '22f (Vf W) + '22 m (Vm W)

So,

'22 = W/W = '22 f Vf + '22 m Vm

or,

or,

or,

22
22

(4.7)

= W/W

22
22

Vf +

22

22 m

Vm

Vf
V
1
+ m
=
22 22 f 22 m
22 f 22 m

(4.8)

22 f Vm + 22 mV f

98

Major Poisson 's Ratio, '12

The micro-model is stressed as in the case of determination of E`11 (Fig. 4.3). The
transverse contraction is noted as W and is contributed by both the fibre and matrix.
Thus,
W = (W)f + (W)m
or,

W = W Vf '12f '11 + W Vm '12m '11

Now , 12 =
and

'22

(4.9)

22

11

(4.10)

= - W/W

(4.11)

Combining Eqs. 4.9 through 4.11, one obtains

W 11

12 =
or,

'12 = Vf '12f + Vm '12 m

(4.12)

Inplane Shear Modulus, G '12

The micro-model is now subjected to a shear stress '12 as shown in Fig. 4.5, and
both and the fibre and the matrix are assumed to experience the same shear stress.
'12f = '12 / G '12f and '12m = '12 / G '12m

(4.13)

Now, = '12W = W Vf '12f + W Vm '12m


or,

'12 = Vf '12f + Vm '12m

also,

=
12

(4.14)

12

(4.15)

G12

Substituting Eqs. 4.13 and 4.15 into Eq. 4.14 and eliminating '12 from both
sides, we get

Vf
V
1
=
+ m
G12
G12 f G12 m
or,

G12 =

G12 f G12 m

(4.16)

G12 f Vm + G12 mV f

Note that, for an isotropic fiber

99

E'11f = E'22f = Ef , '12f = f


and

G12 f = G f =

(4.17)

2(1 + f )

and for an isotropic matrix


E'11m = E'22 m = Em , '12m = m
and

G12 m = Gm =

m
2(1 + m )

(4.18)

Equations 4.6 and 4.12 provide a reasonably accurate estimate of longitudinal modulus
E11 and 12, respectively. However, the transverse modulus E22 and the shear modulus
G12, estimated using Eqs. 4.8 and 4.16, are not so accurate mainly due to the reason that
the stresses in both the fibre and the matrix are assumed to be the same. The volume
element considered in the above mechanics of materials approach does not adequately
represent the micro structure of the composite. Advanced analytical methods employ
better micro-models along with the realistic material behaviour and boundry conditions.
The analytical method using a self-consistent field model provides a better estimation of
composite properties in comparison to the mechanics of materials approach. The model
assumes the composite to be a concentric cylinder (Fig. 4.6) in which a transversely
isotropic matrix. Although the assumed micro-model is simple, it permits formulation of
the problem based on the theory of elasticity so that it is possible to achieve the stress and
strain variations in a realistic manner, and the relations for the effective composite
properties are then derived. These properties are expressed as follows:

= 11
f V f + 11
mVm +
11

mVmV f
4( 12 m 12 f ) 2 f m G23
m ) m + ( f m )G23
mV f
( f + G23

12 = 13 = 12 f V f + 12 mVm +
G12 = G13 = G12 m

=
G23

mVmV f
( 12 m 12 f )( m f )G23
m ) m + ( f m )G23
mV f
( f G23

[(G12 f + G12 m ) + (G12 f G12 m )V f ]


[(G12 f + G12 m ) (G12 f G12 m )V f ]

m [ m (G23
m + G23
f ) + 2G23
f G23
m + m (G23
f G23
m )V f ]
G23
m + G23
f ) + 2G23
f G23
m ( m + 2G23
m )(G23
f G23
m )V f ]
[ m (G23
=

m ) m + ( f m )G23
mV f
( f + G23
m ) ( f m )V f
( f + G23

100

(4.19)

(4.20)

(4.21)

(4.22)

(4.23)

where K' is the plane strain bulk modulus.

22 = 33 = 1 /(

12 2
1
1
+
+
)

11
4 4G23

(4.24)

in which K', G'23, '122 and E'11are defined in Eqs. 4.19 through 4.23.

22 4 12 22
2 11
= 11
23

211
2

(4.25)

with E'11, E'22, K', and '12 defined in the above relations.
Note that for isotropic fibres and matrices,

f = f ;
f = 22 f = 33 f = f ; 12 f = 13 f = 23
11
f = Gf =
G12 f = G13 f = G23

f
2(1 + f )

m = m ;
m = 22 m = 33m = m ; 12 m = 13 m = 23
11
m = Gm =
G12 m = G13 m = G23

and

f = f =

f
3(1 2 f )

m
,
2(1 + m )

; m = m =

m
3(1 2 m )

(4.26)

4.2.2 Strength Properties of Unidirectional Composites

The strength of a material is defined as the level of stress at which failure occurs.
The strength is a material constant. Most of the isotropic structural materials possess only
one constant i.e., the uniaxial tensile strength. The shear strength is normally related to
the tensile strength. A brittle isotropic material may have different strength values in
tension and compression and may be termed as a two-constant material. In contrast, a
composite is a multi-constant material. Referring to Fig. 4.1, it may be stated that a
unidirectional composite may possess three normal strengths X'11, X'22, X'33 and three
shear strengths X'12 , X'13, X'23. A normal strength may have different values in tension
and compression, as the compressive force usually induces premature failure due to

101

buckling of fibres which have extremely high slenderness ratio. So there are a total of
nine independent strength constants X'11t, X'22t, X'33t, X'11c, X'22c, X'33c, X'12, X'13, X'23.
Attempts made using micromechanical analyses to determine these strength
constants, met with little success. This is primarily due to the reason that the micromodels used in these analyses are grossly unrealistic. In fact, it is extremely difficult to
simulate the realistic composite, as the initial microstructure changes continuously with
the increase of applied stress and propagation of failure in the form of fibre fracture,
matrix cracking, fibre-matrix debond and so on at several points located randomly within
the composite. The brittleness of the fibre and the matrix aggravates the situation. This is
illustrated in Fig. 4.7. Note that lc is the ineffective length. The presence of a single
surface flaw in a brittle fibre causes the fibre to fracture at A (Fig. 4.7a). This induces
high shear stresses and causes the fibre-matrix debond along the fibre direction (Fig.
4.7b). Also when a fibre fractures, a redistribution of stresses in the vicinity results in the
tensile fracture of the adjacent fibre due to stress concentration. This process leads to the
propagation of the crack in the direction transverse to the propagation of the crack in the
direction transverse to the fibres (Fig. 4.7c). In fact, the final failure of a composite is
resulted due to the cumulative damage caused by several micro and macro-level failures.
Longitudinal Tensile Strength, X'11t

X'11

A simple relation can be derived for the longitudinal tensile composite strength
using the 'rule of mixtures' and is expressed as
X'11t = X'11f Vf + X'11m Vm

(4.27)

Here it is assumed that, at a particular level of stress, all fibres fracture at the same time
and the failure occurs in the same plane. That this idealization is grossly unrealistic has
already been argued in the preceding paragraph.
Now, let us examine the validity of Eq. 4.27 for two composite systems: (i) a
carbon/epoxy composite, in which the fibre failure strain is less than the matrix failure
strain, i.e., '11fu < '11mu (Fig. 4.8a) and (ii) carbon/carbon composite when '11fu >
'11mu (Fig.4.8b). In these cases, both fibres and matrices are brittle. In the case of
carbon/epoxy composite, when Vf is much higher than Vm , the strength of the composite
is primarily controlled by the fibre fracture. Once the fibres fail, very little resistance is
offered by the matrix. So, the strength of the composite is given by
X'11t = X'11f V 'f + '11m Vm

(4.28)

102

where '11m is the stress level in the matrix when the fibres fracture. On the other hand,
when Vf is low, there is a sufficient amount of matrix to resist the load after the failure of
fibres. In that case,
X'11t = X'11mt Vm

(4.29)

It is therefore obvious that there exists a limiting value of Vf at which the final failure
changes from the fibre failure mode to the matrix failure mode. One may argue in a
similar way to identify the possible failure mechanisms in the case of a carbon/carbon
composite also (Fig. 4.8b) as well as in the cases of other composites in which either
fibres or matrices or both are ductile. But the fact remains that there is no single relation
which is able to define the uniaxial tensile strength of a realistic composite.
However, Rosen's model of cumulative damage, which is based on the Weibull
distribution of the strength-length relationship, provides somewhat better estimation of
X'11t, when the fibres and the matrix exhibit brittle behaviour. This model assumes that
the composite consists of N fibres of original length L and the weaker fibres fracture due
to the applied tensile stress (Fig. 4.9). The original length is then divided into M
segments, where each segment (bundle or link) is of length 1c. Thus the composite forms
a chain of M bundles (links). When the number of fibres are very large (high Vf) the
strength of each bundle or chain link assumes the same value, i.e., the strength of the
composite becomes equal to the link strength. This is expressed as
X 11 f 1 = (1c ) 1 / exp(1 / )

(4.30)

where and are material constants and can be determined experimentally. The tensile
strength of the composite is then determined using
X 11 = V f X 11 f 1 = V f (1c e) 1 /
t

(4.31)

Note that lc is called the ineffective length or critical fibre length and is determined using
the shear lag stress. It is given by
lc =

X f d

(4.32)

2Xi

where X'f is the tensile fracture strength of the fibre, d is the diameter of the fibre and Xi
is the fibre-matrix interfacial shear strength.
The longitudinal compressive strength X'11c of a unidirectional composite is
primarily affected by the buckling of fibres. In a simplified model, the fibres are treated
as isotropic thin plates lying in the x'1 x'2 plane (Fig. 4.10) and are supported on an
isotrpic elastic medium (matrix). Fibres may buckle in two modes-extension and shear. In
103

the extension mode, the matrix along the length of the fibre experiences alternate
expansion and contraction, whereas the matrix is subjected to shearing deformation in the
shear mode. The compressive strength is then determined employing the strain energy
method. For the extensional mode,
X 11 = 2(V f + Vm m / f )(V f f m / 3Vm )1 / 2

(4.33)

X 11 2V f (V f f m / 3Vm )1 / 2 , f >> m

(4.34)

or,

and for the shear mode


X'11C = Gm / Vm

(4.35)

The transverse strength properties normally depend on the matrix properties. The
transverse tensile strength X'22t may also depend on the fibre-matrix interface strength, as
illustrated in Fig. 4.11. The experimental data for some composites confirm that the
transverse tensile strength enhances with the improvement in the fibre-matrix interface
bond. The actual fracture path, however, is a mixture of fibre-matrix debond, fibre
splitting and matrix cracking. A realistic model should be based on the variation of
statistical data for all these failure modes. Two simple relations, for the prediction of the
transverse tensile strength X'22t and transverse compressive strength X'22c of a
unidirectional composite, are presented as follows:
= [1 ( V f V f )(1 m / 22 f )] X mt
X 22

(4.36)

= [1 ( V f V f )(1 m / 22 f )] X mc
X 22

(4.37)

These relations assume that the transverse strength of a composite primarily depends on
the strength of the matrix.

4.2.3 Hygrothermal Properties


Transport Properties

The evaluation of transport properties like moisture diffusivity, heat conductivity,


electric conductivity, dielectric constant and magnetic permeability of a unidirectional
composite follows the similar procedure when one uses a self-consistent field model. The
resulting relations are, therefore, identical for all transport properties. The procedure is,
hence, illustrated considering only one case the diffusion of moisture through a
unidirectional composite. Consider the concentric cylindrical model as shown in Fig. 4.6.
Both the fibre and the matrix are assumed to be moisture permeable. For example, aramid

104

fibres and polymer matrices are moisture permeable. For the diffusion of moisture along
the fibre direction (x'1 axis), the moisture diffusion equation assumes the form
C
2C
= d11
t
x12

(4.38)

where C is the moisture concentration per unit volume, t is time and d'11 is the
longitudinal moisture diffusion coefficient of the composite.
Steady state condition

Equation 4.38 takes the form


2C
=0
x12

(4.39)

Assuming the boundary conditions (Fig. 4.6) to be as at


x'1 = 0, C = 0 and x'1 = L, C = C0

(4.40)

the solution is derived as


C = C0

x1
L

(4.41)

that satisfies Eqs. 4.39 and 4.40.


The direction of moisture diffusion per unit area parallel to the x'1 direction is
defined as
c = d11
q11

C
dC
= d11 0
dx1
L

(4.42)

The total rate of moisture diffusing through the cross-section of the concentric
cylinder is given by
c = R 2f q11
f + ( R 2 R 2f )q11
m
R 2 q11

(4.43)

Note that

and

f = d11 f
q11

C
dC
= d 11 f 0
dx1
L

m = d11 m
q11

C
dC
= d11 m 0
L
dx1

(4.44)

105

where d'11f and d'11m are the longitudinal moisture diffusivities for the fibre and the
matrix, respectively. Substituting Eqs. 4.42 and 4.44 in Eq. 4.43 and noting that
Rf2/R2 = Vf and (R2 - Rf2) / R2 = Vm one obtains
d'11 = d '11f Vf + d'11m Vm

(4.45)

when the fibres (e.g., glass, carbon, etc.) are impermeable to moisture
d'11 = d '11m Vm

(4.46)

The transverse moisture diffusion coefficient d '22 can also be determined using a
similar self-consistent field model and is, given as
= d 22
m
d 22

f + d 22
m ) + (d 22
f d 22
m )V f ]
[(d 22

(4.47)

f + d 22
m ) (d 22
f d 22
m )V f ]
[(d 22

When fibres are impermeable to moisture, Eq. 4.47 reduces to


= d 22
m
d 22

1Vf

(4.48)

1+Vf

The longitudinal and transverse thermal conductivities k'11 and k'22 of the
unidirectional composite can be determined by replacing 'd ' with 'k' in Eqs.4.45 and 4.47,
respectively. Note that, in that case, heat conduction takes place both through the fibre
and the matrix. The other transport properties can also be derived in a similar way using
Eqs. 4.45 and 4.47.

Expansional Strains

The longitudinal expansional strains (due to temperature or moisture) of a


unidirectional composite can be determined using the simple 'mechanics of materials
approach ' as discussed earlier. Consider the micro-model in Fig. 4.3. The total
longitudinal strains, after accounting for the mechanical strain and the expansional strain,
are given as
=
11

11

11

f=
and also 11

+ 11

11 f
f
11

f ; and also
+ 11

m=
11

Solving Eqs. (4.49) one gets

106

11 m
m
11

m ;
+ 11
e

(4.49)

11
e )11

11 = (11
and

f 11
f e )11
f ; 11 m = (11
m 11
m e )11
m
11 f = (11

(4.50)

Assuming free expansion '11 = '11e, the first relation of Eqs. 4.50 yields
'11 = 0

(4.51)

Therefore,
'11 W = '11f Wf + '11m Wm = 0
or,

f 11
f e )11
f W f + (11
m 11
m e )11
mWm = 0
(11

(4.52)
f =11
m =11
m =11
e and V f = W f / W and
Dividing Eq. (4.52) by W and noting that 11
Vm = Wm / W one obtains
=
11
e

f e 11
f V f + 11
m e 11
mVm
11

(4.53)

f V f + 11
mVm
11

Observing that the thermal expansional strain of a specimen of length L due to a


rise of temperature T is given by e = LT, the longitudinal thermal expansion
coefficient '11 of a unidirectional composite is derived from Eq. 4.53 as follows:

11 =

f V f + 11 m 11
mVm
11 f 11

(4.54)

f V f + 11
mVm
11

Similarly, the longitudinal moisture expansion coefficient '11 of a unidirectional


composite is obtained from Eq. 4.54 replacing '' by ''.
For the transverse expansional strain '22e, the 'self-consistent field model '
approach is, however, preferred. The expression for '22e can be derived as
11
f e 11
f V f + 11
m e 11
mVm
22 = [ 12 f V f + 12 mVm ]

f V f + 11
mVm
11

(4.55)

The transverse thermal expansion coefficient '22 is then derived from Eq, 4.55 in a
similar way
f V f + 11 m 11
mVm
11 f 11

f V f + 11
mVm
11

= 33
= [ 12 f V f + 12 mVm ]
22

107

(4.56)

The transverse moisture expansion coefficient '22 is obtained from Eq. (4.56) by
replacing '' with ''.

4.3 PARTICULATE AND SHORT FIBRE COMPOSITES

A unidirectional composite provides some sort of regularity in the microstructure,


as the fibres are continuous and aligned in one direction. This helps to assure a simple
micro-model with a constant strain or stress field and use the 'mechanics of materials '
approach to determine the composite properties. Such a simple analytical treatment with
constant stress or constant strain field is not adequate in the case of particulate and short
fibre composites. The microstructure is not uniform through the composite medium. The
point to point variation of the microstructure is quite significant in many situations due to
wide variations in the shape, size and properties of fillers and reinforcements and their
orientation and distribution in the matrix phase. The discontinuous nature of some of
these reinforcements adds to more complexities. There exist innumerable high stress
zones around irregular shaped particulate reinforcements and at the tips of short fibres.
The assumption of constant stress and strain fields is no more valid. Further
complications arise due to the anisotropy caused by the alignment of short fibres and
flake particulates.
All these preclude a general treatment of the problem. A single composite micromodel, in no way can represent all composites of this category. Composites with different
reinforcements may require different micro-models and analytical treatments. This is
probably the main reason why the micromechanics analysis of this class of composites
has not received much attention from researchers. There is also another important reason
for the dearth of information in the area. In comparison to particulate and short fibre
composites, unidirectional composites find extensive uses in structural components in
several engineering disciplines. This has created more awareness and, in turn contributed
to the growth of knowledge in the micromechanics of unidirectional composites, while
the understanding of the micromechanical behaviour of particulate and short fibre
composite still continues to remain at its nascent stage.

4.3.1 Particulate Composites

The simplest mechanics of materials approach uses classical Voigt (constant


strain) and Reuss (constant stress) models to estimate the elastic properties for an
isotropic composite. With the Voigt model, the bulk modulus k and the shear modulus G
are given as
108

P= Vf Pf + Vm Pm ,
where P=K,G
and E = 9 KG / (3K+G)
= (3K-2G) / (6K+2G)

(4.58)

and with the Reuss model, the relations are


1 V f Vm
=
+
, = , , G
f m

(4.59)

The properties predicted by Voigt model (highest) and Reuss model (lowest) are
two extremes to the real values. Several improved analytical models are known to exist,
but are not easily amenable to simple design uses. The Halpin-Tsai model, which is based
on a semi-empirical approach, is popular and provides both upper and lower bounds that
fall within the Voigt and Reuss limits. Simple relations that are developed based on an
improved combining rule are found to provide a reasonably good estimate of the
properties of an isotropic composite (Pf > Pm and 0 < f < 0.5).
These are presented as follows:
=

m [1 + f {( f m ) /( f + m )}]
1
2
[1 f {1 + (1 f )}{( f m ) /( f + m )}]
2

(4.60)

with P = K,G.
For bulk modulus, : =

2(1 2 m )
1 + m

and for shear modulus, G: =

7 5 m
8 10 m

(4.61)

Young 's modulus E and Poisson 's ratio are then determined from Eqs.4.60 and
4.61 using Eqs.4.58.
The thermal expansion coefficient is given by
m f 1 f


m

f m f m

= V f f + Vm m + f m

where K is obtained using Eqs.4.60 and 4.61.

109

(4.62)

4.3.2 Short Fibre Composites

A simple model assumes a randomly oriented short fibre composite as a quasiisotropic micro-laminate in which each lamina consists of a group of short fibres oriented
along a particular direction. P is determined using the modified Halpin-Tsai relation as
given by
=

m [1 + f {( f m ) /( f + m )}]
[1 f {( f m ) /( f + m )}]

(4.63)

where for
E '11, longitudinal modulus, = 2l / D
E '22, transverse modulus, = 2
G '12, inplane shear modulus, =1
G '23, transverse shear modulus, = (3 4 m)-1
Note, that l and d are the length and the diameter of the short fibre, respectively. Both the
matrix and the fibre are isotropic in nature. The Poisson 's ratio '12 is estimated using the
simple mixture rule.
The longitudinal tensile strength is dependent on the critical fibre length lc (Eq.
4.32) and is given by

l
t = f (1 c )V f + m Vm
11
l
where 'm is the stress on the matrix when the fibre breaks.

110

Table 4.1 Additional micromechanics relations for unidirectional composites


1. Volume fractions:

Vf + Vm + Vv =1

(1)

For a void free composite, Vv = 0; Vf + Vm = 1


2. Mass fractions
Mf + Mm = 1

(2)

3. Void volume fraction


Vv = 1 - [ (Mf / f ) + (Mm / m) ]

(3)

4. Composite density
= f Vf + mVm

(4)

5. Fibre volume fraction


V f = (1 Vv ) /[1 + ( f / m )(

1
1)]
f

(5)

1
1)]
m

(6)

6. Matrix volume fraction


Vm = (1 Vv ) /[1 + ( m / f )(
7. Transverse modulus

22 = 33 = m /[1 V f (1 m / 22 f )]

(7)

8. Shear moduli

G12 = G13 = Gm /[1 V f (1 Gm / G12 f )]

(8a)

= Gm /[1 V f (1 Gm / G23
f )]
G23

(8b)

9. Poisson's ratio

= V f 23
f + Vm (2 m 12 22 / 11
)
23

(9)

10. Longitudinal compression strength

c V f 11
f
11

(fibre crushing)

(10a)

111

X 11 c Gm / 1 V f (1 Gm / G12 f )

(microbuckling)

(10b)

X 11 c 10 X 12 + 2.5 X mt
11.

(10c)

Transverse thermal conductivity


22 = 33 = (1 V f m ) +

m Vf

(11a)

1 V f (1 m / 22 f )

22 = 33 = m (1 2 V f /
2
1 ( mf
Vf /
m
4
1

tan
+

2
mf

1
/
V
+

1
/
V

mf
f
mf f

(11b)

where Kmf = 2(Km/Kf -1) for a cylindrical fibre.

22 = 33 = m +
12.

V f ( f m ) m
0.5Vm ( f m ) + m

; (for MMCs)

(11c)

Transverse moisture diffusivity

= d 33
= (1 V f )d m
d 22

(12a)

= d 33
= d m (1 2 V f / )
d 22
d
+ m
d mf

1 (d mf2 V f / )
4
1

tan
2

1
/
+

d
V
1 (d mf V f / )
mf
f

(12b)

where dmf =2 (dm /df -1) for a cylindrical fibre.


13.

Thermal expansion coefficients

11 =

f V f ( f / m ) + mVm

(13a)

( f / m 1)V f + 1

= 33
= 22
f V f + (1 V f )(1 + V f m 11
f / 11
) m
22

(13b)

= 33
= f V f (1 + f ) + mVm (1 + m ) + 11 ( f V f + mVm )
22

(13c)

= 33
= f V f + mVm +
22

V f Vm ( f m m f )( f m )
V f f + Vm m

; (for MMCs)
(13d)

112

14.

Transverse moisture expansion coefficients

22 = 33 = m (1 V f ) 1 +

15.

V f 22 + (1 V f ) m
V f (1 V f ) m

(14)

Heat capacity

C=

( k f f C f + k m m Cm )

(15)

113

Table 4.2: Typical properties of some common fibres

S.
N0.

Property

Boron

Carbon
(T300)

Kelvar
-49

SGlass

EGlass

Rayon
(T50)

1.

Fibre diameter, d m

140

12

2.

Density, f gm /cm3

2.63

1.77

1.47

2.49

2.49

1.94

3.

Longitudinal Modulus,
E'11f GPa

400

220

150

85

75

380

Transverse Modulus,
E'22f GPa

400

14

4.2

85

75

6.2

Longitudinal Shear
modulus, G'12f GPa

170

2.9

36

30

7.6

Transverse Shear
modulus, G'23f GPa

170

4.6

1.5

36

30

4.8

Longitudinal Poisson's
ratio, '12f

0.2

0.2

0.35

0.2

0.2

0.2

Transverse Poisson's
ratio, '23f

0.2

0.25

0.35

0.2

0.22

0.25

Heat capacity, Cf kJ/(kg


k)

1.30

0.92

1.05

0.71

0.71

0.84

Longitudinal Heat
conductivity k'11f
W/(mk)

38.0

1003.0

2.94

36.30

13.0

1003.0

Transverse Heat
conductivity k'22f
W/(mk)

38.0

100.3

2.94

36.30

13.0

100.3

Longitudinal thermal
Expansion coefficient,
'11f 10-6 m/m/K

5.0

1.0

-4.0

5.0

5.0

7.7

Transverse thermal
expansion coefficient,
'22f 10-6 m/m/K

5.0

10.1

54

5.0

5.0

10.1

4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

11.

12.

13.

114

S.
N0.

Property

Boron

Carbon
(T300)

Kelvar
-49

SGlass

EGlass

Rayon
(T50)

14.

Longitudinal
compressive strength,
X'11ft MPa

4140

2415

2760

4140

2760

1730

Longitudinal
compressive strength,
X'11fc MPa

4830

1800

500

3450

2400

1380

Shear strength, X'12f


MPa

700

550

400

1050

690

350

15.

16.

Table 4.3 : Typical properties of some common matrices

S
Property
No.
1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

Polyimide

Epoxy

Phenolic

Polyester

Nylon

6061
Al

Nickel

Titanium

Density,m
gm /cm3

1.22

1.3

1.2

1.2

1.14

2.8

8.9

4.4

Young's
Modulus, Em
GPa

3.45

3.45

11

3.45

70

210

110

Shear
Modulus, Gm
GPa

1.28

1.28

4.07

1.11

1.28

26.12

81.40

44

Poisson's
ratio, m

0.35

0.35

0.35

0.35

0.35

0.34

0.29

0.25

Heat
capacity, Cm
kJ/(kgk)

1.05

0.96

1.30

1.15

1.67

0.96

0.46

0.39

Heat
conductivity,
km W/(mk)

2.16

0.18

0.21

0.25

0.19

171

62.0

7.0

115

7.

8.

9.

10.

11.

12.

Thermal
expansion
coefficient,
m10-6 m/m/k

36.0

64.3

80.0

80.0

46.0

23.4

13.3

9.5

Moisture
diffusivity,
dm10-13 m2/s

0.39

1.637

1.20

1.80

1.10

0.0

0.0

0.0

Moisture
expansion
coefficient,
m m/m/C

0.33

0.38

0.38

0.50

0.45

0.0

0.0

0.0

Tensile
strength, Xtm
MPa

120

90

60

60

81.4

310

760

1170

Compressive
strength, Xcm
MPa

210

130

200

140

60.7

310

760

1170

Shear
strength, Xsm
Mpa

90

60

80

50

66.2

180

440

675

116

Table 4.4 : Thermoelastic properties of three unidirectional composites (Vf = 0.6)

S. Property
No

Kelvar/
Epoxy

T300/
Epoxy

Boron/
polyimide

Fomulae
used

1.

Density, gm /cm3

1.40

1.58

2.07

Eq.4*

2.

Longitudinal modulus, E'11 GPa

91.38

133.38

241.38

Eq.4.6*

3.

Transverse modulus, E'22 GPa

4.00

8.29

14.87

Eq.7*

4.

Poisson 's ratio, '12 = '13

0.35

0.26

0.26

Eq.4.12*

5.

Poisson 's ratio, '23

0.484

0.424

0.394

Eq.9*

6.

Inplane shear modulus, G'12 =


G'13 GPa

2.26

3.81

5.53

Eq.8a*

7.

Transverse shear modulus, G '23


GPa

1.44

2.90

5.53

Eq.8b*

8.

Longitudinal conductivity, k'11


W/ (mk)

1.836

601.87

23.66

Eq.4.45*

9.

Transverse conductivity, k'22


W/(mk)

0.57

0.72

6.95

Eq.11b*

10. Heat capacity, c kJ/(kgk)

1.017

0.933

5.28

Eq.15*

11. Longitudinal thermal expansion


coefficient, '11 (x10-6) m/m/k

-2.48

1.99

5.28

Eq.4.54*

12. Transverse thermal expansion


coefficient, '22 (x10-6) m/m/k

61.32

2.73

1.48

Eq.13b*

* Eqs. Of Table 4.1

117

4.4 BIBLIOGRAPHY

1. J.M. Whitney and R.L. McCromechanical Materials Modeling, Delware


Composites Design Encyclopedia, Vol.2, Technomic Publishing Co., Inc.,
Lancaster, 1990.
2. J.W. Weeton, D.M. Peters and K.L. Thomas (Eds.), Engineer's Guide to
Composite Materials, American Society of Metals, Metals Park,Ohio, 1987.
3. G.S. Springer and S.W. Tsai, Thermal Conductivities of Unidirectional Material,
J.Composotie Materials, 1,1967,166.
4. M. Taya and R. Arsenault, Metal Matrix Composite. Pergamon, Oxford, 1989.
5. R.A. Schapery, Thermal Expansion Coefficient of Composite Materials Based on
Energy Principles, J.Composite Materials, 2, 1968,157.
6. R.M. Jones, Mechanics of Composite Materials, McGraw Hill Book Companym
New York, 1975.
7. S.W. Tsai and H.T. Hahn, Introduction to Composite Materials, Technomic
Publishing co., Inc., Lancaster, 1980.
8. B.D. Agarwal and L.J. Broutman, Analysis and Performance of Fiber Composites,
Wiley-Interscience, NY, 1980.
9. J.C. Halpin, Primer on Composite Materials : Analysis, Technomic Publishing Co.
Inc., Lancaster,1984.
10. Z. Hashin, Theory of Fibre Reinforced Materials, NASA CR-1974, 1972.

4.5 EXERCISES
(Use material properties and formulae given in this chapter for numerical
results)

1. Using simple rules of mixture, derive expressions for E'11, E'22 , '12 and G'12.
2. For a matrix of given weight, what should the weight of fibres so that the fibre
volume fraction of the composite is 0.7 i.e., Vf = 0.7.
3. For a boron/ polyimide composite (Vf = 0.7) determine the values of E'22 and G'22
using various formulae and make a comparative analysis.
4. For a carbon/aluminium composite (Vf = 0.5) determine the values of E'11, E'22 ,
'12 and G'12.

118

5. Determine d '11 and d '22 for a carbon/epoxy composites (Vf = 0.7) and for
Kevlar/epoxy composite (Vf = 0.6 and df = 5 dm).
6. Determine k '11 and k '22 for a carbon polyimide and boron/polyimide composites
(Vf = 0.7).
7. Determine '11 and '22 for a boron/aluminium composite (Vf = 0.5).
8. Determine '11 and '22 for a Kevlar/epoxy composite (Vf = 0.7). Assume 'f = 0.5
'm.

119

120

121

122

123

124

125

CHAPTER 5
TEST METHODS

5.1 INTRODUCTION
Testing is a very broad and diverse discipline that concerns with the (i)
characterization of physical, mechanical, hygral, thermal, electrical and environment
resistant properties of a material, that are required as design input, (ii) quantification of
inclusions, voids, cracks, delaminations and damage zones for design assessment, and
(iii) testing and qualification for final product realization. Testing, at the final stage may
also involve application of simulated service loads and exposure to accelerated
environmental conditions. Testing, in fact, is a continuous process, it interacts with a
product at every stage of its design and development and, in most cases, continues until
the product ensures optimum performance requirements even after it is put to a certain
period of continuous service.
The testing of composites is much more involved than that of most other
materials. The number of material parameters to be determined is quite large. Take the
case of a three-dimensional unidirectional composite (Fig. 5.1). The mechanical
parameters that are to be generated are three longitudinal moduli (E'11, E'22 , E'33 ), three
Poisson 's ratios ( '12 , '13, '23 , ), three shear moduli (G'12, G'13, G '23) and nine strength
constants six normal strengths (X'11, X'22, X '33, in tension and compression) and three
shear strengths (X'12, X'13, X'23) and likewise ultimate tensile, compressive and shear
strains. Besides, there are important parameters, namely moisture diffusivities (d '11, d '22,
d '33), coefficients of moisture expansion ('11, '22, '33), maximum moisture content
( ) , thermal conductivities (K'11, K'22, K'33 ), coefficients of thermal expansion '11,

'22, '33 ), heat capacity ( C ) and several other parameters related to impact, fracture,
fatigue, creep, viscoelasticity, plasticity, strain-hardening, etc.
A specimen plays a vital role in realizing the desired test objective. The shape and
size of a specimen and its test requirements vary from one test to the other. The
heterogeneity and anisotropy of composites control the specimen design. A ' dog bone '
type specimen may be used for the tensile testing of a quasi-isotropic composite
(particulate or randomly oriented short fibre composite) whereas a unidirectional
composite requires a flat specimen with end tabs. A specimen to study the microstructure
may need a Scanning Electron Microscope so as to obtain finer details of individual
reinforcements, interfacial bonds, voids, micro-cracks, etc., on the other hand the testing

126

of a proto-type aircraft composite wing component specimen may involve elaborate


fixtures and instrumentations to simulate the load and measure the test data. All aspects
of testing, namely, specimen preparation, design of test-rigs and fixtures, instrumentation
and analysis of test data, are vital to the success of a test programme. The statistical
allowables of the test data are normally based on
A-Basis: The A parameter value is the value above which at least 99% population
of values is expected to fall with a 95% confidence level.
B-Basis: The B parameter value is the value above which at least 90% population
of values is expected to fall with a 95% confidence level.
S-Basis: The S parameter value is the minimum value specified by the governing
specifications.
Typical Basis: The typical parameter value is an average value. No statistical
assurance is associated with this value.

It is to be remarked that the test procedures to determine all the intrinsic


composite properties are not yet fully developed. In this chapter, therefore, the salient
features of a few established test methods for characterization of properties of fibres,
matrices and unidirectional composites are described. All these test methods are
applicable to polymer composites, but some of them may also be used for metal-matrix
and ceramic-matrix composites. For specific details the relevant ASTM standard should
be referred (See Table 5.1).
Nondestructive testing (NDT) serves three major purposes. It assures quality
control of materials and products during manufacture and assembly. It ensures the
integrity of manufactured parts and their assemblies during service life. It generates a
NDT database that forms the basis for evaluation and assessment of a component. NDT
methods are, in general, indirect in nature and therefore require accuracy both in
measurement and interpretation of data. NDT techniques have made enormous strides in
recent years. Sophistication in electronic instruments, computerization, real time
monitoring using video systems, as well as several other innovations and advances in data
measurement and analysis techniques have revolutionized the NDT technology. Some of
these advanced NDT methods are of great significance to the area of composites and
composite structures, because some of the flaws have the thickness dimensions smaller
than 100m, say, in the case of a tight delamination or even closer to the fibre diameter
as in the cases of a fibre break, matrix cracking, etc. Delaminations are most undesirable
defects in composite structures. Under certain loading conditions, these defects grow
127

faster and severely limit the integrity of a structure. They also act as pockets in which
diffused moisture or water can accumulate thereby causing further degradation of the
material and structure. The detection and quantification of delaminations, especially the
tight ones, are of major concern to NDT personnel. Besides, there are several defects like
cracks, voids, inclusions, debonding, disbanding, etc. which need to be evaluated using
NDT techniques. The purpose here is not to make a critical assessment of the progress
made in the area but to present a brief account of some important NDT methods that are
the current trend-setters in composite applications. The reader should refer to the recently
published literature for more information on the prospects and limitations of a particular
method. However, one should keep it in mind that an NDT method is better learnt, when
it is used in practice.

5.2 CHARACTERISATION OF PROPERTIES


5.2.1 Density (ASTM D792-75)
The density for fibres and matrices is determined by weighing the specimen in air
and then weighing it while suspended on a wire and immersed in water, and then noting
down the difference in water. In case the specimen is likely to have the density lower
than that of water, a sinker is attached to the wire to facilitate immersion. The density is
obtained from

(0.9975)a
( a + w b)

(5.1)

where a is the weight of the specimen in air, b is the total weight of specimen and sinker
completely immersed, while the wire is partially immersed and w is the weight of a fully
immersed sinker but partially immersed wire.
The density of a composite can also be determined in a similar way.
5.2.2 Fibre Volume Fraction (ASTM D 3355-74)
The matrix phase in this method is first digested by burning in an oven or using a
digesting liquid. The fibres remain unaffected. They are cleaned and then weighed. The
fibre volume fraction V f is then determined using the relation.

V f = ( w f / f ) /( w / )

(5.2)

where w and are the composite weight and composite density, respectively, and wf and
f are those for the fibre.

128

5.2.3 Fibre Tensile Properties (ASTM 3379-75)

The tensile strength and Young's modulus of a high-modulus fibre is measured


after mounting it on special slotted tabs and loading it at a constant strain rate (Fig. 5.2).
The fibre strength Xf and the fibre modulus Ef are obtained from the load displacement
plot.
f =

4
4L
and f = max2
2
d .u
d

(5.3)

where P,d and u are the load, fibre diameter and axial displacement, respectively.
5.2.4 Matrix Tensile Properties (ASTM D638-80)

A 'dog bone' specimen (Fig. 5.3a) is commonly used for a polymer material, and
the strength Xm corresponds to the ultimate failure load. The Young's modulus Em and
ultimate strain mu are measured using electrical resistance strain gauges located at the
centre of the specimen to determine m. For thin polymer sheets (in case it is not possible
to make thick sheets), a flat specimen (Fig. 5.3b) is recommended. The following
relations are used:
m =

1
;
WT 11m

m =

m
11

and m = max
22 m
WT

(5.4)

5.2.5 Tensile Properties of Unidirectional Lamina (ASTM D 3039-76)

High modulus and high strength fibrous composites cause special problem of grip
integrity. Wedge action frication grips are used to hold the specimen. The materials for
the tabs should have lower modulus of elasticity and higher percentage of elongation. The
tab thickness may range from 1.5 to 4 times the specimen thickness. Typical specimen
dimensions are presented in Fig. 5.4. The longitudinal tensile properties
, 11
12 ,11
u as well as transverse tensile properties 22 , 22 , 21
,22u for a
11
unidirectional lamina can be determined following this test method. For longitudinal
properties a 00 lamina with the width W= 12.7mm is employed, and for transverse
properties a 900 lamina with W = 25.4mm is used. The specimens are loaded
monotonically at a recommended rate of 0.02 cm/min. The applied loads as well as
longitudinal and transverse strains are measured. The determinable characteristics are
computed using stress-strain plots and simple relations as given below:

129

=
For 00 specimen : 11

1
= 11 max
; 12 = 22 ; 11

WT 11
WT
11

(5.5)

1
= 11 ; 22 = 22 max /WT
; 21
For 900 specimen: 22 =
22
WT 22
5.2.6 Inplane Shear Properties (ASTM D 3518-82)

Several test methods, namely picture frame, rail shear (single and double), tube
torsion, plate twist and tension testing of an off-axis specimen, were developed to
determine the inplane shear properties of a unidirectional lamina. All these methods
require complex test specimens or special test fixtures. The off-axis composite in which
all fibres are oriented at an angle , provides a simple specimen configuration (Fig. 5.5a).
The relation used to determine the inplane shear modulus is given by (see Eq. 6.41)
2
1
1
m4 n4
=
+
+ m2n2 (
12 )

11 11
22
G12
11

(5.6)

, 22 and 12 are known from the earlier test (Eq.


from which G'12 is determined; as 11
5.5) and E11 (=

) is determined from the tensile test of an off-axis specimen.


WT 11

However, the testing of an off-axis specimen requires greater care because of coupling of
normal stress and shear stress. The coupling introduces bending moment and shear forces
(Fig. 5.5b) at the ends where it is attached to the grips. This in turn requires complex end
fixtures to loosen the end fixity. The other alternative is to test a long specimen so that
the middle portion of the specimen remains unaffected.
ASTM D 3518-82 specifies a simple test method in which a 450 symmetric
laminate specimen (Fig. 5.6) is subjected to a tensile load. The specimen details
(including end tabs details) are those given in ASTM 3039-76. The width W of the
specimen is 12.7mm. The applied load and both longitudinal and transverse strains are
continuously recorded till failure. The shear stress and shear strain are computed at the
different levels of the applied load from the relations

12 = / 2WT

and 12 = 11 + 22

(5.6a)

and the corresponding shear stress-strain curves are plotted.


The shear modulus and the shear strength are then obtained from
G12 =

12
12

and

=
12

max
2 WT

(5.7)

130

5.2.7 Compressive Properties of Unidirectional Lamina (ASTM D3410-87)

The premature failures, namely, fibre buckling, fibre breaking, matrix shearing,
etc. are commonly encountered in a compression test. The main problem here is to ensure
that the specimen failure is by compression. The specimen gauge length should be
sufficiently short to restrict the failure mode to a truly compressive one. Besides the
specimen ends are likely to get damaged due to want of close contact at all points
between the end faces of the specimen and the platens of the testing machine during
loading. Further, the specimen centerline should be perfectly aligned so as not to induce
any eccentricity with respect to the load path. All these require an appropriate specimen
configuration and a complex loading fixture.
Three standard methods are currently available to determine the true compressive
properties. The details of the testing procedure, specimen configuration, loading fixture,
etc. are presented in ASTM D 3410-87. Of these the most commonly used method
employs a Celanese test fixture (Figs. 5.7 and 5.8). The test fixture consists of truncated
conical collet type friction grips contained in matching cylindrical end fittings (tapered
sleeves). The colinearity of the end fittings is maintained by a hollow cylinder that houses
all fittings. A central opening in the central part of the hollow cylinder provides an access
to the gauge length of the specimen. A spacer is used to separate the grips and allow them
to be closed with a preload, without preloading the specimen. The assembled fixture with
specimen (Fig. 5.9) is loaded between the flat platens of the testing machine. The hollow
cylinder, however, does not carry any load during the test. The recommended loading rate
is 0.017 mm/mm/s.
The applied load P and strains (longitudinal and transverse) are measured at
regular intervals. The compressive strength and longitudinal modulus, and Poisson's ratio
for a longitudinal (00) specimen are computed from
c=
11

max
22 c
1
c
c

; 11 =
. c ; 12 = c

B.T
BT 11
11

(5.8)

The properties for a transverse (900) specimen can also be determined in a similar way.
5.2.8 Interlaminar Shear Properties

The shear moduli G'13 and G'23, and shear strengths X'13 and X'23 (Fig. 5.1) are
normally termed as interlaminar shear properties. There are no reliable methods for
determination of all interlaminar shear properties. ASTM D 2344-84 specifies the
determination of the interlaminar shear strength X'13 only. The apparent shear strength
determined using this method should be used only for quality control and specifications
purposes, but not as design criteria. Both flat and ring short beam specimens (Fig. 5.10)
131

can be used for which the span to thickness ratio is 4 for most composites, except glass
fibre composite when it is 5. For the flat specimens, the corresponding length to thickness
ratios are 6 and 7 so as to provide allowance for the support pins (3.2 mm ). The
loading nose consists of a 6.35 mm dowel pin. The recommended crosshead speed is
1.3 mm/min.
The apparent interlaminar shear strength is obtained using
=
13

0.75max
bh

(5.9)

5.3 NDT METHODS


5.3.1 Acoustic Emission

Acoustic Emission (AE) is essentially a technique of listening to a material.


Whenever there is a change of condition in the material during loading and other service
conditions, e.g., the initiation and propagation of a crack, sound waves (transient elastic
waves) are generated by the rapid release of energy and propagate through the medium
which contains that crack. These sound waves can be detected using an AE sensor glued
to the surface of the medium at a convenient location. In the early fifties Joseph Kaiser, a
German scientist, conducted experiments with metals and wood using sensitive electronic
instruments and listened to the sound emitted by these materials during the process of
deformation. He noted a phenomenon, termed as 'Kaiser Effect', that a material that had
emitted AE signals during earlier stressing, would exhibit AE signals again when the
previous stress was exceeded. Since Kaiser's first experimentation, there has been an all
round growth in the use of AE techniques in materials and structures including
composites.
AE sensors (piezoelectric transducers) are in principle high frequency
microphones which first receive the sound waves and then convert them to electrical
signals. These signals are very weak and therefore are amplified before they are passed to
the signal conditioner where other electrical noises are filtered out. The filtered AE
signals are then processed and analysed. A simple AE measurement system is
schematically illustrated in Fig. 5.11. The electrical signals received by an AE sensor are
processed by a wide variety of parameters : (i) count rate and total count of the number of
signals which exceed a reference threshold, (ii) distribution of signal amplitude as a
function of stress and time, (iii) energy of the detected signals and (iv) frequency content
of the signals. AE can also be used to locate the crack or the signal source which emits
AE signals. This requires the use of multiple transducers, and the source is located by the
132

triangulation method, normally used to locate a seismic source. AE is an active NDT


method and can be utilized for condition monitoring of composite parts and production
control, as well as assessing severity of flaws and damages. It has been used extensively
in composites not only to identify various failure modes, to define defects and to locate
AE souces, but also to conduct real time monitoring during proof testing and in service.
Each failure mode, namely, fibre breaking, matrix cracking, interfacial debond or
delamination is found to exhibit distinct characteristic AE signals. But the identification
of individual modes becomes extremely difficult when two or more failure modes occur
simultaneously. The types of fibres and matrices, the anisotropy, the stacking sequence,
structural boundaries, presence of micro-defects, etc. can considerably influence the AE
signals and their propagation characteristics. All these problems need to be solved before
AE can be routinely used as an NDT tool in development of composite materials and
structures.
5.3.2 Holographic Interferometry

The holographic technique was discovered by Nobel Laureate Dennis Gabor in


1947, but it gained prominence after the discovery of the helium-neon laser in 1962. In
holography, the entire optical wavefront both with respect to amplitude and phase is
recorded in a film and phase is recorded in a film is called 'hologram' (after the Greek
word holos meaning 'whole'). A hologram preserves the three-dimensional character of
an object for which the hologram has been made. A simple holographic set-up (Fig.5.12a)
mounted on a vibration isolated table, uses a laser, the light from which is split into two
waves by a beam splitter. One wavefront i.e., the reference wavefront after being
reflected from a mirror system reaches directly a holographic film. The other wavefront,
i.e., the object wavefront reaches the film after being reflected from the object. The two
wavefronts create a complex interference pattern which is recorded on the holographic
film. The interference lines represent points with the same displacement. The coherence
of the laser light permits the interference of these two waves, although there exist
relatively large differences in path length. The recorded holographic film, or the
hologram when illuminated with the reference wave, the object wave is reconstructed and
a three-dimensional view of the object can be observed behind the hologram (Fig. 5.12b).
Several images which interfere with each other can be stored on the same film,
which can be reconstructed when required. The holographic interferometry (HI) uses the
technique of multiple exposure for application in NDT. The popular double exposure
method, in which holograms of an object in two different states, e.g., stressed and
unstressed, provide anomalies in the interference pattern which may in turn, reveal the
existence of a flaw if any. The double exposure method is also known as frozen fringe

133

HI. There are other HI methods which are used for specific purposes. The 'simulataneous
method' or real time HI first creates a hologram of the object in a desired reference state,
which is later used as a reference hologram with respect to which subsequent changes in
the object position are recorded by filming the hologram image. The 'time averaging
method' is used to record small amplitude oscillations of vibratory parts. The hologram of
a vibrating body is first recorded on a film for a time interval longer than the period of
oscillation and in the process a set of holograms are superimposed. The resulting
hologram when reconstructed, reveals nodal lines as dark interference stripes.
HI has a great potential for NDT applications. The capability of HI is enhanced
considerably after the introduction of video and popular with the NDT personnel working
in the field of composites and composite structures. The real time monitoring of a
component using HI, especially during the service life, still poses a problem as it is not
easy to isolate vibration in the production and in-service environment. The vibrational
displacement of the object as small as one-quarter wavelength of the laser light may
produce fringes on the hologram. The use of phase-locked holography may alleviate
problems associated the low frequency environmental vibration. The phase-locked
holography uses the diffuse reflection of an unexpanded beam shone on a small portion
of the test object as the reference beam. Another important development in this area is the
electronic shearogrphy in which no separate reference beam is used. In this case, the
returning object beam is doubly imaged with a video system. One image is then found to
be slightly shifted or sheared relative to the original one. This shearing fringe pattern can
be isolated from the real fringes.
5.3.3 Radiography

X-ray radiography is the most commonly used NDT technique in industrial


applications. X-rays are independent of the magnetic and electrical properties of a
material and hence can be used with all materials. Two major characteristics of X-ray
radiographic NDT method are that X-rays are absorbed differentially by different media
and they produce photochemical effects in photographic emulsions. The intensity of a
transmitted X-ray beam, when it passes through a medium, is given by
I = I0 e-h

(5.10)

where I is the intensity of the transmitted beam, I0 is the intensity of the incident beam,
is the absorption coefficient of the medium and h is the thickness through which the beam
travels. The absorption coefficient depends not only on the material, but also on the
wavelength of X-rays.

134

Thus it is observed from Eq 5.10 that the X-ray beam attenuates when it passes
through a material. The attenuation depends on the absorption coefficient and the
thickness of the material. If there exists any defect, say, a void, in the material, the void
( =0) does not absorb X-rays. So the intensities of the X-ray beams passing through the
material thickness with and without a void will be different. When these transmitted
beams are allowed to strike a photographic film, they create a contrast on the exposed
film or radiograph (i.e., more the intensity, darker the film appears) from the knowledge
of which the existence of a void can be predicted. It is also possible to determine the
thickness and composition of a material by examining differences in the exposed film.
Fig. 5.13 illustrates the principle how the radiograph is produced when a stepped
specimen containing a hole is exposed to X-rays.
Normally voids of small sizes (closer to fibre dimensions), and cracks and
delaminations that exist normal to the X-ray beam are not easily detectable. However,
inclusions, cracks, delaminations and other material defects and damages that are aligned
parallel to the X-ray beam can be readily revealed. The X-ray radiography has also been
applied to investigate the microstructural details of damages using low energy X-rays as
well as using an X-ray opaque penetrant (e.g., tetrabomo-ethane or zinc iodide). The
penetrant, however, should not react chemically with the constituents of the composite
medium. The development of radiography with microfocus (in which electrons are
focused on a small area by means of a magnetic field) opens up new vistas for locating
smaller details closer to fibre dimensions (10m). Figure 5.14 shows the microfocal
radiograph of a carbon composite panel with defects such as Teflon pieces, steel mesh,
steel wire and steel balls. Microfocus radiography combined with real time image
processing can be conveniently applied to investigate the nucleation and growth of
cracks, delaminations and damages in composite and honeycomb structures.
A large portion of the attenuation of the X-ray beam, especially with low X-ray
photon energies is due to Compton scattering. The X-ray backscatter imaging uses the
process of recording and investigating scattered radiation from the object. The
backscatter radiation provides quantitative information about variations in density due to
presence of flaws, delaminations, etc. as well as change in materials. The method is found
to be very useful for the inspection of laminated composite pressure vessels and motor
cases, and very tight delaminations can be easily detected.
Computerized tomography (CT) provides a three-dimensional image of the
desired section of an object and therefore all minute details of the variations in the image
slice are recorded. The image is called a tomogram (after the Greek word tomos means 'to
cut'). A point source of X-rays or gamma radiation is collimated to a flat, fan shaped

135

beam which penetrates the slice of an object under inspection. The intensity of the
transmitted beam is recorded by a detector. The movements of the beam and the recorder
can be synchronized when the beam is rotated about the object along with the recorder
and thereby a three-dimensional scanning of the whole slice is carried out. CT is now
widely used in medical diagnostics and offers a great potential for uses in composite
materials and structures.
Neutron radiography is another NDT technique which is finding applications in
polymer composite structures. However, the major limitation of this method is that a
transportable neutron source should be available at the site of inspection.
5.3.4 Thermography

Thermography is also an effective NDT technique. It is basically a method of


mapping and interpreting the contours of isotherms (equal temperature) over the surface
of a body. A variation in the thermal field within the body occurs due to the presence of
inhomogeneities, discontinuities and other defects which form hot or cold regions
depending on their thermoelastic properties. These hot or cold regions exhibit sharp
temperature gradients and can be located in the isothermal mapping. A thermal field
within a body can be created externally by exposing it to a hot or cold source, or
internally during the process of deformation when being loaded. A low level of
mechanical vibration can raise the temperature in the regions containing discontinuities.
A low temperature field may require spraying the body with liquid nitrogen. The thermal
wave imaging technique employs a pulsed heat source to create pulsed thermal waves in
the body. The thermal waves are then detected using acoustical or optical methods.
Thermal patterns or isotherms are usually recorded employing an infrared
electronic camera (Fig.5.15). These are then related to inhomogeneities or defects.
Thermography has been successfully used to detect delaminations and other types of
flaws in composites. Figure 5.16 shows a thermal image of a blister between the peel ply
and the subsurface on a 2mm thick CFRP panel. The image was acquired by heating the
rear side of the panel using a hot air gun and focusing the infrared camera on the front
side. Thermography should find extensive uses in metal-matrix composites, as metals are,
in general, good thermal conductors. The real time thermography permits scanning and
imaging a large surface area in a shorter period of time. The vibrothermography, in which
mechanical vibrations are employed to induce thermal gradients near the damage regions,
combined with the real time recording using an infrared video camera has been used to
investigate damages in composites.

136

5.3.5 Ultrasonics

Ultrasonics is also a popular NDT technique for composites. The ultrasonic


inspection in composites employs high frequency sound pulses usually in the megahertz
range. Piezoelectric transducers are normally used to produce sound pulses. These sound
pulses (ultrasonic signals) are allowed to propagate as a narrow beam through a material
under examination. The sound waves attenuate based on the characteristics of the
material (even if it is homogeneous) as given by the relation
= 0 e h

(5.11)

where
I is the intensity of the transmitted sound wave,
I0 is the original intensity of the sound wave,
is the attenuation constant
and

h is the distance travelled by the sound wave.

The intensity of propagating signals attenuates further due to the presence of


inhomogeneities (e.g., different materials, poor adhesive bonding, etc.) and
discontinuities (e.g., delaminations, cracks, voids, etc.) in the material. The sound signals
are scattered and /or reflected at the interfaces of these defects. The characteristics of
these defects are predicted by investigating the reflected and / or transmitted signals.
Fig. 5.17 illustrates how a reflected signal relates to the presence of a crack. In
fact, more than 99% of an ultrasonic signal is reflected from a crack surface which is a
material-air interface. This method of monitoring the reflected sound signal is called the
'pulse-echo' ultrasonic test. A piezoelectric transducer (probe) located at the top surface
of a test specimen transmits a very short, high frequency pulse. The pulse is reflected
from the crack top as well as from the bottom surface and is received by the same
transducer (receiver). The variations in the amplitudes of reflected pulses when compared
with that of the start pulse give the measure of attenuation. The depth at which the crack
is located can be determined monitoring the time of arrival i.e., by relating the time axis
with the sound path length. By mapping the surface and using angle probes the size and
orientation of a crack can also be determined.
The main advantage of the pulse-echo method is that it requires access only from
one side of a structure. The portable pulse-echo systems are very common in in-situ
inspection. The pulse-echo system helps locating flaws at different depths. The pulse-

137

echo C-scan can provide a map of all flaws located at different depths. The method is
also very sensitive to foreign body inclusions. Even the existence of a piece of paper or a
similar material contained within a laminate can be easily identified from the reflected
signal strength.
The transmitted ultrasonic signals can also be monitored by placing a probe
(receiver) on the bottom surface of the specimen. This is called the 'through-transmission'
ultrasonic test. The presence of a flaw will reduce the intensity of transmitted signals. The
through transmission ultrasonic technique is relatively more popular in composite
applications. The method also permits ease of automation. A 'through transmission'
ultrasonic C-scan provides complete information of the quality of an inspected part.
Delaminations, inclusions and other defects normal to the ultrasonic beam are easily
identified in the C-scan mapping. High frequency transducers (5 to 10 MHz) are
employed to locate small defects or cracks parallel to the beam. Short focus transducers
with 15 MHz are also being used in the ultrasonic C-scan system. High frequency
transducers provide the sharper image of a defect and therefore help identification.
There are several other ultrasonic test techniques that are receiving sufficient
attention in recent years. The 'ultrasonic polar backscatter' technique employs slightly
angled beams. This helps detection of matrix cracking in oriented plies. The 'ultrasonic
resonance' method makes use of the fact that the existence of a delamination reduces the
normal surface stiffness of the material. A continuous ultrasonic wave is transmitted
through the material, and the mechanical stiffness or impedance of the material is
monitored. The reduced surface stiffness due to presence of a delamination decreases the
surface loading on the ultrasonic probe and a shift in the phase, amplitude or resonant
frequency is observed. The 'ultrasonic correlation' method enhances the sensitivity of
ultrasonic signals (higher signal to noise ratio) by making use of a continuous wave
cross-correlation technique. The method is very useful for highly attenuative composite
materials. The 'acousto-ultrasonic or stress wave factor' test technique employs an
ultrasonic transducer to send a simulated acoustic emission pulse through the test object.
A defect or damage can modify the waveform which is monitored at a distance away
from the source and is analysed. The 'ultrasonic microscopy' can image microstructural
differences on the surface of a material. The reflection scanning acoustic microscope uses
a very narrow high frequency (100 MHz to 1GHz) ultrasonic beam to scan the object line
by line. Its limit of resolution is that of an optical microscope but the acoustic imaging, in
some cases, provides additional information.
One of the major disadvantages of the ultrasonic NDT method is that a coupling
agent is needed between the probe and the specimen to transmit and receive ultrasound

138

signals. Normally either the specimen is immersed in a water bath or a water jet is
directed to the specimen. Other coupling agents are also used. The coupling agents may
have a deleterious effect on the specimen material. Further, this also poses special
problems, when the size of a part to be inspected becomes large. The other alternative in
such situations is to make use of transducers with dry coupling. The transducer is coupled
acoustically to the specimen via a plastic material which is attached to the tip of the
transducer. Typical CRT patterns from artificially embedded defects (paper and Teflon)
in a carbon-carbon composite material are illustrated in Fig. 5.18.

Table 5.1 : ASTM standards for composite and related testing

ASTM D618-91

Conditioning of Plastics and Electrical Insulating Materials for


testing.

ASTM D792-75

Specific Gravity and Density of Plastics by Displacement.

ASTM D 1505-75

Density of Plastics by the Density Gradient Technique.

ASTM D 3355-74

Fibre Content of Unidirectional Fibre/Polymer Composites


(Also see ASTM D3171-76 and ASTM D 3553-76)

ASTM D 3379-75

Tensile Strength and Young's Modulus for High Modulus


Single Filament Materials.

ASTM D2324-76

Tensile Properties of Glass Fibre Strands, Yarns and Rovings


used in Reinforced Plastics

ASTM D 4018-81

Tensile Properties of Continuous Filament Carbon and


Graphite Yarns, Strands, Rovings and Tows.

ASTM D 638-91

Tensile Properties of Plastics

ASTM D 695-91

Compressive Properties of Plastics

ASTM D 3039-89

Tensile Properties of Oriented Fibre Composites.

ASTM D 3552-77

Tensile Properties of Fibre Reinforced Metal Matrix


Composites.

139

ASTM D 2291-80

Fabrication of Ring Test Specimens for Glass Resin


Composites.

ASTM D 2290-92

Apparent Tensile Strength of Ring or Tubular Plastics and


Reinforced Plastics.

ASTM D 790-91

Flexural Properties of Plastics and Electrical Insulating


Materials.

ASTM D 3518-82

Inplane Shear Stress-Strain Response of Unidirectional


Reinforced Plastics.

ASTM D 3918-80

Definitions of Terms Relating to Reinforced Pultruded


Products.

ASTM D 4475-85

Apparent Horizontal Shear Strength of Pultruded Reinforced


Plastics Rods by Short Beam Method.

ASTM D 3914-84

In-plane Shear Strength of Pultruded Glass- Reinforced


Pultruded Plastic Rods.

ASTM D 3916-84

Tensile & Properties of Pultruded Glass Fibre Reinforced


Plastic Rod.

ASTM D 3914-80

Inplane Shear Strength of Pultruded Glass- Reinforced Plastic


Rod.

ASTM D 3410-87

Compressive Properties of Unidirectional or Crossply FibreResin Composites.

ASTM D 2344-84

Apparent Interlaminar Shear Strength of Parallel Fibre


Composites by Short-Beam Method.

ASTM D 3479-76

Tension Fatigue of Oriented Fibre, Resin Matrix Composites.

ASTM D 671-78

Flexural Fatigue of Plastics by Constant Amplitude- of-Force.

ASTM D 2585-90

ASTM D 2105-90

Preparation and Tension Testing of Filament Wound Pressure


Vessels.
Longitudinal Tensile Properties of Fibreglass Reinforced
Thermosetting Plastic Pipe and Resin Tube.
140

ASTM D 897-78

Tensile Properties of Adhesive Bonds.

ASTM D 3876-79

Inplane Shear Strength of Reinforced Plastics

ASTM D 3846-85

Inplane Shear Strength of Reinforced Thermosetting Plastics.

ASTM D 1623-78

Tensile / Tensile Adhesive Properties of Rigid Cellular Plastics

ASTM D 1621-79

Compressive Properties of Rigid Cellular Plastics.

ASTM D 747-90

Apparent Bending Modulus (Stiffness) of Plastics by


Cantilever Beam Method.

ASTM D 696-91

Coefficient of Linear Expansion.

ASTM D 648-88

Deflection Temperature of Plastics under Flexural Load.

ASTM D 3917-88

Dimensional Tolerance of Thermosetting Glass- Reinforced


Plastic.

ASTM D 543-87

Resistance of Plastics (incluting Cast/Hot-moulded/ Coldmoulded Resinous/Sheet Products) to 50 Chemical Reagents.

ASTM E 162-90

Surface Flammability of Materials using a Radiant Heat


Energy Source.

ASTM D 2843-88

Density of Smoke from the Burning or Decomposition of


Plastics.

141

5.4 BIBLIOGRAPHY
1. Annual Book of ASTM standards, American Society for Testing and Materials,
Philadelphia, 1992.
2. R.B. Pipes, R.A. Blake, Jr., J.W. Gillespie, Jr. and L.A. Carlsson, Test Methods,
Delware Composite Design Encyclopedia, Vol.6, Technomic Publication Co.,
Inc., Lancaster, 1990.
3. K.G. Boving (Ed.), NDE Handbook, Butterworth, London, 1989.
4. T.S. Jones and H. Berger, Nondestructive Evaluation Methods for Composites,
International Encyclopedia of Composites (Ed. S. M. Lee),Vol.4m VCH, N.Y.,
1990, p.37.
5. E.G. Henneke, Nondestructive Evaluation of Advanced Composite Materials,
Proc. Indo-US workshop in Composite for Aerospace Application, Bangalore,
India, 1990, p.41.
6. I.G. Scott and C.M. Scala, A Review of Nondestructive Testing of Composite
Materials, Non-destructive Testing International, 15, 1982, p.75.
7. J.H. Williams and S.S. Lee, Acoustic Emission Monitoring of Fibre Composite
Materials and Structures, J Composite Materials, 12, 1978, p.348.
8. J.B. Abbiss, M J Marchant and A C Marchant, Recent Application of Coherent
Optics in Aerospace Research, Optical Engineering, 15, 1976, p.202.
9. D.W. Oplinger, B.S. Parker and F.P. Chiag, Edge-Effect Studies in Fibre
Reinforced Laminates, Experimental Mechanics 14, 1974, p.347.
10. B.G. Martin, Analysis of Radiographic Techniques for Measuring Resin Content
in Graphite Fiber Reinforced Epoxy Resin Composites, Materials Ebaluation, 35,
1977, p. 65.
11. D.J. Hagemaier and R H Faesbender, Nondestructive Testing of Advanced
Composites, Materials Evaluation, 37, 1979, p. 43.
12. R.L. Crane, S. Allinikor and F. Chang, The use of Radiographically Opaue Fibers
to aid the Inspection of Composites, Materials Evaluation, 36, 1978, p. 69.
13. F.H. Chang, D.E. Gordon, B.T. Rodini and R.H. McDaniel, Real-time
Characteization of Damage: Growth in Gr/Ep Laminates, J. Composite Materials,
10, 1976, p.182.
14. R. Prakash, Nondestructive Testing of Composites, Composites, 11, 1980, p.217.

142

15. P.V. McLaughlin, E.V. McAssey and R C Deitrich, Nondestructive Examination


of Fibre Composite Structures by Thermal Field Techniques, NDT International,
13, 1980, p. 58.
16. S.S. Russell and E.G. Henneke, Dynamic Effects during Vibrothermographic
NDE of Composites, NDT International, 17, 1984, p.19.
17. P.Stanley and W.K. Chan, Quantitative Stress Analysis by Means of the
Thermoelastic Effect, J Strain Analysis for Engg. Design, 20, 1985, p.129.
18. M. Holler, J.F. Williams, S. Dunn and R. Jones, Thermomechanical Analysis of
Composite Specimens, Composite Structures, 11, 1989, p. 309.
19. D. Zhang and B.I. Sandor, Thermographic Analysis of Stress Concentrations in a
Composite, Experimental Mechanics, 29, 1989., p.121.
20. A. Vany and K.J. Bowles, An Ultrasonic Acoustic Technique for Nondestructive
Evalution of Fiber Composite Epoxy, Polymer Engineering and Science, 19,
1979,p.373.
21. J.C. Dake, Jr. (Ed.), Acousto-Ultrasonics: Theory and Application, Plenum Publ.
Corp., N.Y., 1988.
22. R.L. Hollis, R. Hammer and M.Y. Al-Jaroudi, Subsurface Imaging of Glass
Fibres in a Polycarbonate Composite by Acoustic Microscopy, J Materials
Science, 19, 1984, p.1897.

5.5 EXERCISES

1. Prepare a list of various properties (physical, thermal, electrical, chemical,


mechanical, etc.) that are important in design and development of composite
materials and structures.
2. How do you determine the tensile properties of fibres and matrices ?
3. Which properties of a unidirectional composite can be determined using
tensile tests? Describe the methods.
4. Establish the theoretical basis of the formula defined in Eq. 5.9. Why the data
obtained using this test method are not used for design purposes?
5. Derive the formulae used for determination of inplane shear properties of a
unidirectional composite. Discuss the relevant test methods.

143

6. Compare the advantages and disadvantages of various NDT methods used in


composite testing.
7. Which NDT methods will you recommend if you have to detect
i.

A subsurface delamination

ii.

An inclusion

iii.

Distribution of voids

iv.

A crack

v.

Improper bonding

vi.

Criticality of a flaw.

8. Describe the uses of ultrasonic methods in NDT of composites. Can these


techniques be used to determine composite moduli?

144

145

146

147

148

149

150

151

152

153

154

155

156

157

158

CHAPTER 6

MACROMECHANICAL BEHAVIOUR

6.1 INTRODUCTION
The heterogeneity in a composite material is introduced due to not only its biphase or in some cases multi-phase composition, but also laminations. This leads to a
distinctly different stress strain behaviour in the case of laminates. The anisotropy caused
due to fibre orientations and the resulting extension-shear and bending-twisting coupling
as well as the extension-bending coupling developed due to unsymmetric lamination add
to the complexities. A clear understanding of the constitutive equations of a composite
laminate is thus desirable before these are used in analysis and design of composite
structures. In this chapter, we first introduce to the readers the basic constitutive
equations for a general three-dimensional anisotropic material with and without material
symmetry, elastic constants and compliances and their relations to engineering constants,
as well as transformation laws for elastic constants and compliances for both three and
two-dimensional cases. We also discuss constitutive relations for several composite
materialsparticulate and short fibre composites, multidirectional fibre reinforced
composites, unidirectional lamina and general laminates as well as lamina strength
criteria.
6.2 THREE-DIMENSIONAL MATERIAL ANISOTROPY
For a three-dimensional elastic anisotropic body (Fig. 6.1), the generalized Hook's
law is expressed as
3

ij = Cijkl k l

(i, j = 1,2,3)

(6.1)

k =1 l =1

where ij and kl are the stress and strain tensors, respectively, and C ijkl are the elastic
constants. Here the indices i, j, k and l can assume values of 1, 2 and 3. This implies that
there may exist 34 = 81 independent elastic constants. However, it is known from the
theory of elasticity, that both stress tensor ij and strain tensor kl are symmetric. As

ij = ji , C ijkl = C jikl
and as kl = lk , C ijkl = C iflk

(6.2)

Thus, C ijkl = C jikl = C ijlk = C jilk

(6.3)

159

This results in reduction of possible independent elastic constants to thirty-six.


Further, if there exists a strain energy U such that

U=

1
C ijkl ij kl
2

with the property that

(6.4)

U
= ij , then
ij

C ijkl = C klij

(6.5)

Equation 6.5 in conjunction with Eq. 6.3 finally reduce the total number of
independent elastic constants from thirty-six to twenty-one only. Such an anisotropic
material with twenty-one independent elastic constants is termed as triclinic. Now, using
the following contracted single index notations
11
1


22
2
33
3

= and
23 (= 23 ) 4
13 (= 13 ) 5


12 (= 12 ) 6

11
1


22
2
33
3

=
2 23 (= 23 ) 4
2 13 (= 13 ) 5


2 12 (= 12 ) 6

(6.6)

the constitutive relations for the general case of material anisotropy are expressed as
1 C11

2
3
=
4
5

6

or,

C12

C13

C14

C15

C22

C23

C24

C25

C 33

C34
C44

C35
C45

symmetric

{ 1 } = [C ij ]{ j } ;

C55

i, j = 1, 2,.,6

C16 1
C26 2
C36 3
=
C46 4
C56 5

C66 6

(6.7)

(6.8)

Here, [ C ij ] is the elastic constant matrix.


Conversely, { i } = [Sij ] { j } ;

i, j =1, 2,..,6

(6.9)

where [Sij] is the compliance matrix.


Note that
[Sij] = [Cij ]-1

(6.10)
160

Also, [ Cij ] =[ C ji ] and [Sij] = [Sji] due to symmetry.

6.3 MATERIAL SYMMETRY

There may exist several situations when the distribution and orientation of
reinforcements may give rise to special cases of material property symmetry. When there
is one plane of material property symmetry (say, the plane of symmetry is x3 = 0, i.e., the
rotation of 180 degree around the x3 axis yields an equivalent material), the elastic
constant matrix [ Cij ] is modified as
C11

Cij
=
one plane

of symmetry

( X = 0)
3

C12

C13

C22

C23

C33

0
C44

0
C45

symmetry

C55

C16
C26
C36

0
0

C66

(6.11)

Thus there are thirteen independent elastic constants, and the material is monoclinic. The
compliance matrix [Sij] for a monoclinic material may accordingly be written from Eq.
6.11 by replacing 'C ' with 'S '.
If there are three mutually orthogonal planes of symmetry, the material behaviour
is orthotropic. The elastic constant matrix [C ij ] is then expressed as

C11

[C ij ] orthotropic =

C12

C13

C22

C23
C33

0
0

0
0

C44

symmetry

C55

0
0
0

0
0

C66

(6.12)

Thus there are nine independent elastic constants. Correspondingly there exist nine
independent compliances.
Two special cases of symmetry, square symmetry and hexagonal symmetry, may
arise due to packing of fibres in some regular fashion. This results in further reduction of
independent elastic constant. For instance, if the fibres are packed in a square array (Fig.
6.2) in the X2X3 plane. Then
161

C11

[ Cij ] square array =

C12

C12

C 22

C 23

C 22

C 44

0
C 66

symmetry

0
0
0

0
0

C 66

(6.13)

There exist now six independent elastic constants. Similarly, when the fibres are packed
in hexagonal array (Fig. 6.3),

C11

Cij
=
hexagonal array

C12

C12

C22

C23

C22

1
(C22 C23 )
2

symmetry

C66

C66

(6.14)
In the case of hexagonal symmetry, the number of independent elastic constants is
reduced to five only. The material symmetry equivalent to the hexagonal symmetry, is
also achieved, if the fibres are packed in a random fashion (Fig. 6.4) in the X2X3 plane.
This form of symmetry is usually termed as transverse isotropy. The [ Cij ] matrix due to
the transverse isotropy is the same as that given in Eq. 6.14. The compliance matrices
corresponding to Eqs. 6.12 through 6.14 can be accordingly written down. However,it
may be noted that in the case of rectangular array (Fig. 6.5), C12 C13, C22 C33 and C55
C66 (Eq. 6.13).

Material Isotropy

The material properties remain independent of directional change for an isotropic


material. The elastic constant matrix [ Cij ] for a three dimensional isotropic material are
expressed as

162


C11

Cij
=
isotropy

C12

C12

C11

C12

C11

1
(C11 C12 )
2

0
1
(C11 C12 )
2

symmetry

(C11 C12 )
2

(6.15)
The compliance matrix [Sij] for an isotropic material can be accordingly derived.

6.4 ELASTIC CONSTANTS AND COMPLIANCES IN TERMS OF


ENGINEERING CONSTANTS

The elastic constants or compliances are essentially material constants.


Incidentally, the determination of all these elastic constants or compliances is not easy to
accomplish by simple tests. The material constants that are normally determined through
characterization experiments (see chapter 4) are termed as engineering constants. They
can also be evaluated using the micromechanics material models (chapter 5).
All nine independent compliances and therefore elastic constants listed in Eq.
6.12 are now expressed in terms of nine independent engineering constants. The stressstrain relations for a three-dimensional orthotropic material, in terms of engineering
constants, can be written as follows:

163

1

11
12
1
11
2 13
3
= 11
4
5

6

31
33
32
33
1
33

21
22
1
22
23
22

1
G23

symmetric

0
1
G13

0 1

2
0
3

0 4
5

0 6

1
G12

(6.16)

We know that, in terms of compliances, the stress-strain relations are


{1} = [ Sij ]

orthotropic { j }

(6.17)

Comparing Eqs. 6.16 and 6.17, we can express the compliances in terms of engineering
constants.
S11 =

1
1
1
; S22 =
; S33 =
;
11
22
33

S12 = S 21 =
S13 = S 31 =
S 23 = S 32 =

S 44 =

21
22

31
33

32
33

=
=
=

12
11

13
11

23
22

(6.18)

1
1
1
; S 55 =
; S 66 =
G23
G13
G12

The elastic constants can then be derived by inversion of the compliance matrix
i.e. [ Cij ] = [Sij]-1 and are given as follows:
2
C11 = 11 [1 ( 33 / 22 ) 23
]

C12 = C 21 = [ 22 12 + 33 13 23 ]
C13 = C 31 = 33 [ 12 23 + 13 ]

164

C 22 = 22 [1 ( 33 / 11 ) 132 ]

(6.19)

C 33 = 33 [1 ( 22 / 11 ) 122 ]
C44 = G23 ; C55 = G13 ; C66 = G12
where
2
( ) 1 = 1 2(33 / 11 )12 23 13 132 (33 / 11 ) 23
(33 / 22 ) 122 ( 22 / 11 ) (6.20)

In terms of engineering constants, the elastic constants and compliances for an isotropic
material are given by

and

C11 =

(1 )

; C12 =
(1 + )(1 2 )
(1 + )(1 2 )

S11 =

; S12 =

(6.21)

6.5 CYLINDRICAL ORTHOTROPY

Consider cylindrical coordinates r, , z as illustrated in Fig. 6.6. Here the z-axis is


assumed to coincide with the X3-axis. The stress and strain components are represented
as
rr 1

2
zz 3
=
z 4
rz 5

r 6

rr 1

2
zz 3
=
z 4
rz 5

r 6

and

(6.22)

The stress-strain relations, in terms of compliances, become


1 S11

2
3
=
4
5

6

S12

S13

S 22

S 23

S 33

S 44

0
S 55

symmetric

{i } = [ Sij ]{ j }
165

0 1
0 2
0 3
=
0 4
0 5

S 66 6

(6.23)

where
S11 =

1
1
1
; S22 =
; S33 =
;
rr

ZZ

S12 = S 21 =
S13 = S 31 =
S 23 = S 32 =

S 44 =

zr
zz

z
zz

rz

rr
rr

(6.24)

1
1
1
; S55 =
; S66 =
G z
Grz
Gr

The elastic constant matrix [ Cij ] is obtained by inversion of the compliance


matrix [Sij] i.e., [ Cij ] = [Sij]-1 or from Eq. 6.19 by replacing the indices 1,2,3 with r, , z
respectively.

6.6 TWO-DIMENSIONAL CASE: PLANE STRESS

For the case of plane stress (Fig. 6.7)


3 = 4 = 5 = 0

(6.25)

The stress-strain relations, with two-dimensional anisotropy, are

or,

Q12
1 Q11

Q22
2 =
symm
6

Q16 1

Q26 2
Q66 6

(6.26)

{ i } = [Qij ]{ j },

i, j = 1,2,6

(6.27)

Where [Qij] are the reduced stiffnesses (elastic constants) for plane stress.
Similarly, in terms of compliances, the stress-strain relations are

S12
1 S11

S 22
2 =
symm
6

S16 1

S 26 2
S66 6

(6.28)

166

or,

{i } = [ S ij ]{ j },

i, j =1,2,6

(6.29)

For the case of two-dimensional orthotropy (Fig. 6.8) the stress-strain relations
are
1 Q11

2 = Q12
0
6

Q12

Q22

1 S11

2 = S12
0
6

S12

S 22
0

0 1

0 2
6
Q66

(6.30)

0 1

0 2
6
S 66

(6.31)

and

with

11
22
=
; Q22

1 12 21
1 12 21


= 12 22 = 21 11 ; Q66
= G12
Q12 = Q21
1 12 21

1 12 21
Q11 =

(6.32)

and
S11 =

1
1
1
=
; S 22
; S12 = S 21 = 21 = 12 ; S66 =

11
22
22
11
G12

(6.33)

, 22 , 12 , (or 21
) and G'12 are referred to
Note that the engineering constants 11
the orthotropic axis system X'1X'2 (i.e., the material axes).

6.7 TRANSFORMATION OF ELASTIC CONSTANTS AND COMPLIANCES

If the elastic constants and compliances of a material are known with respect to a
given co-ordinate system, then the corresponding values with respect to any other
mutually perpendicular coordinates can be determined using laws of transformation.
These are explained in Appendix A.
6.7.1 Three-Dimensional Case

The transformation of elastic constants from the X'1X'2X'3 coordinates to mutually


orthogonal X1X2 X3 coordinates (Refer Fig. A.1 and Eq. A. 22) is given as follows:
[Cij ] = [T ]T [Cij ][T ]

(6.34)

167

where transformation matrix [T ] is given by Eq. A.8.


Note that the elements of [C ij ] and [C ij ] correspond to the X1X2 X3 and X'1X'2X'3
coordinates, respectively.
One can use Eq. 6.34 in the following form
[C ij ] = [T ] -T [C ij ] [T ] -1

= [T] [C ij ] [T]T

(6.35)

if the transformation is required from X1X2 X3 coordinates to theX'1X'2X'3 coordinates.


Note that [T] is defined by Eq. A.13.
Simalarly,
[ S ij ] = [T ]T [ S ij ][T ]

(6.36)

[ S ij ] = [T ][ S ij ][T ]T

(6.37)

The corresponding elastic constants [C ij ] and compliances [Sij] due to special


cases of material symmetry and transformation matrices [T ] and [T] due to specific
orientation of axes are to be reduced from the general three dimensional cases, before
transformation is sought from one axis system to the other.
6.7.2 Two-Dimensional Case

If the elements of [Qij ] and [Qij ] refer to the X1X2 and X'1X'2 coordinates (see
Eqs. 6.26 and 6.30 and Figs. 6.7 and 6.8), respectively, then transformation laws for
reduced elastic constants are obtained as follows:

[Qij ] = [T ]T [Qij ][T ]

(6.38)

[Qij ] = [T ][Qij ][T ]T

(6.39)

where [T ] and [T ] are defined by Eqs. A.18 and A.19. The compliance matrices are
accordingly transformed using Eqs. 6.36 and 6.37.
Accordingly, from Eqs. 6.38 and A.18 it can be shown that

168

Q11 m 4
Q 4
22 n
2 2
Q12 m n
=


2 2
Q66 m n
Q16 m 3 n

Q26 mn 3


2m n
4m n
m
Q11

4m 2 n 2 Q22
m2n2
m4 + n4

2 2
2 2
2
2 2
2m n
(m n ) Q12
m n

mn 3 mn 3 m 3 n 2(mn 3 m 3 n) Q66

m 3 n m 3 n mn 3 2(m 3 n mn 3 )
n4

2m 2 n 2

4m 2 n 2

(6.40)

In a similar way from Eqs. 6,36 and A.19 one obtains


S11 m 4
S 4
22 n
S12 m 2 n 2
= 2 2
S 66 4m n
S16 2m 3 n

S 26 2mn 3


m
m n
2m n
S11

2 2
4
4
2 2
m n
m +n
m n S 22

2 2
2 2
2
2 2
4m n
(m n ) S12
8m n

2mn 3 2(mn 3 m 3 n) mn 3 m 3 n S 66

2m 3 n 2(m 3 n mn 3 ) m 3 n mn 3
n4

2m 2 n 2
2

m2n2

(6.41)

Note that m = cos and n = sin and [Qij ] and [ S ij ] are defined by Eqs. 6.32 and 6.33

, 22 , 12 (or 21
) and G'12
respectively, in terms of engineering constants 11
corresponding to principal material directions.
If transformation is required from one anisotropic material axis system (say X1X2
X3) to another anisotropic material axis system (say, X 1 X 2 X 3 ), then from Eqs. 6.38 and
A. 18 we can

[Q ij ] = [T ]T [Qij ][T ]
or,
Q11

Q12
Q16

Q12
Q22
Q26

Q16 m 2
n2
2mn Q11
2

2
Q26 = n
m
2mn Q12
Q66 mn mn m 2 n 2 Q16

or,

169

Q12
Q22
Q26

Q16 m 2
n2
mn
2

2
Q26 n
m
mn
Q66 2mn 2mn m 2 n 2

Q11

Q22
Q12
=
Q66
Q
16
Q26
Q11

m
2m n
4m n
4mn
4m n
Q22
m2n2
m4 + n4
4m 2 n 2
2(m 3 n mn 3 ) 2(mn 3 m 3 n) Q12

m2n2
2m 2 n 2
(m 2 n 2 ) 2
2(m 3 n mn 3 ) 2(mn 3 m 3 n) Q66
mn 3 mn 3 m 3 n 2(mn 3 m 3 n) m 4 3m 2 n 2
3m 2 n 2 n 4 Q16

m 4 3m 2 n 2 Q26
m 3 n m 3 n mn 3 2(m 3 n mn 3 ) 3m 2 n 2 n 4

m4
4
n
m 2 n 2
2 2
m n
m3n

3
mn

n4

2m 2 n 2

4m 3 n

4m 2 n 2

4m 3 n

(6.42)
Similarly, using Eqs. 6.36 and A.19 one can write
[ S ij ] = [T ]T [ S ij ][T ]
or,
S11

S22
S
12
=
S66
S
16
S26

m4
4
n
m2n2
2 2
4m n
2m 3 n

3
2mn

S11

m n
2m n
2mn
2m n
m
S 22
2 2
4
4
2 2
3
3
3
3
m n
m +n
m n mn
mn m n S12
m n

2 2
2 2
2
2 2
3
3
4m n
(m n ) 4(m n mn ) 4(mn 3 m 3 n) S 66
8m n
3m 2 n 2 n 4 S16
2mn 3 2(mn 3 m 3 n) mn 3 m 3 n m 4 3m 2 n 2

m 4 3m 2 n 2 S 26
3m 2 n 2 n 4
2m 3 n 2(m 3 n mn 3 ) m 3 n mn 3
n4

2m 2 n 2
2

m2n2
2

2m 3 n
3

2m 3 n
3

(6.43)
6.8 PARTICULATE AND SHORT FIBRE COMPOSITES

Particulate composites, where reinforcements are in the form of particles, platelets


and flakes, and short fibre composites may exhibit a wide range of elastic material

170

behaviour depending on the shapes, sizes, orientations and distributions of reinforcements


in the matrix phase as well as elastic properties of the constituent materials. The matrix
behaviour is normally isotropic. The composition of these composites are first established
by examining their morphology and then proper stress-strain relations can be obtained
from the equations developed in the preceding sections. It is also to be noted whether the
composite body under consideration is three-dimensional or two dimensional in
character.
For example, the behaviour of a three-dimensional composite with a typical
reinforcement packing shown in Fig. 6.9a is anisotropic in nature. Here the
reinforcements are oriented in some regular fashion with respect to the reference axes
X1X2 X3. The stress strain relations { i } = [C ij ] { j } for this type of composites are
given by Eq 6.8 with elements of [C ij ] listed in Eq. 6.7. When the reinforcements are
arranged parallel to the axes (Fig. 6.9b), the composite behaviour is orthotropic and Eq.
6.12 defines the corresponding [C ij ] . If the orientation and distribution of reinforcements
are found to be random in the matrix phase, as shown in Fig. 6.9c, the composite is
assumed to behave like an isotropic material. Consequently, the elastic constant matrix
[C ij ] is reduced to that given in Eq. 6.15.
For two-dimensional anisotropic, orthotropic and isotropic cases, some possible
reinforcement arrangements are illustrated in Fig. 6.10. The stress-strain relations, as
presented in section 6.6 can be accordingly used for these cases.
If transformations of elastic constants and compliances are required from one axes
system to another, then one can use the transformation rules discussed in section 6.7.
Fig. 6.10

6.9 MULTIDIRECTIONAL FIBRE REINFORCED COMPOSITES

Composites exhibit strong directional properties, when reinforcements are in the


form of continuous fibres. In a multidirectional composite, fibres can be placed in any
desired direction in a three-dimensional space, along which better stiffness (or strength)
is desired. The shear properties can be greatly improved by providing diagonal
reinforcements. Carbon-carbon composites form an important class of multidirectional
composites due to several variations in weave design and perform construction. Similar
multi-directional composite systems can also be designed and developed with both metalmatrix and ceramic-matrix composites. A typical multi-directional (5D) composite is
shown in Fig. 6.11a. There are three bundles of orthogonal fibres f1, f2, f3 and two
171

bundles of diagonal fibres f4, f5. We consider here an integrated multidirectional fibre
reinforced composite moder which contains n number of unidirectional fibre composite
blocks that are oriented in n arbitrary directions with respect to a three-dimensional
reference axes X1X2 X3. Each unit block may have different fobre volume fractions. This
arrangement makes n number of material axis systems, and therefore yield n sets of
direction cosines between n material axis systems and the reference axes X1X2 X3. For
example, Figure 6.11b represents the orientation of the material axis system for the ith
block. The corresponding transformation matrices [T ]i and [T ]i can then be written
down using Eqs. A.8 and A.13, respectively.
The material behaviour for each block with respect to its axes is orthotropic. The
elastic constants for the ith block are then given as
C11
C
12
C
[C ij ]i = 13
0
0

C12

C 22

C13

C 23

C 23

C 33

0
0

0
0

C 44

C 55

0
0
0

0
0

i
C 66

(6.44)

The effective elastic constants for the n-directional fibre reinforced composite are then
determined by averaging the transformed properties as follows:
[C ij ] =

1 n
( [T ]Ti [C ij ]i [T ]i
n i =1

(6.45)

Note that the overall fibre volume fraction is given as


Vf =

1 n
(V f ) i
n i =1

(6.46)

6.10 UNIDIRECTIONAL LAMINA

A unidirectional lamina is a thin layer (ply) of composite and is normally treated


as a two-dimensional problem. It contains parallel, continuous fibres and provides
extremely high directional properties. It is the basic building unit of a laminate and finds
very wide applications in composite structures specially in the form of laminates.
Therefore, the knowledge of its elastic macromechanical behaviour is of utmost
importance to composite structural designers.

172

Figure 6.12a depicts a unidirectional lamina where parallel, continuous fibres, are
aligned along the X'1 axis (fibre axis or longitudinal direction). The X'2 axis (transverse
direction) is normal the fibre axis. The axes X'1X'2 are referred as material axes. The
material axes are oriented counter clockwise by angle with respect to the reference
axes X1X2. The angle (also referred as fibre angle) is considered positive when
measured counterclockwise from the X1 axis. This type of unidirectional lamina is termed
as off-axis lamina. An off-axis lamina behaves like an anisotropic two-dimensional
body, and the stress-strain relations, given by Eqs. 6.26 through 6.29, can be used for the
present case.
When the material axes coincide with the reference axes (i.e., =0), as shown in
Fig. 6.12b, the lamina is termed as on-axis lamina and its behaviour is orthotropic in
nature. The stress-strain relations are defined by Eqs. 6.30 and 6.31.

, 22 , 12 , (or 21
) and G'12 are usually known, as
The engineering constants 11
these can be determined either by using micromechanics theories (chapter 4) or by
characterization tests (chapter 5). Using these engineering constants, the reduced
stiffnesses [Qij ] and compliances [ S ij ] are then determined for an orthotropic lamina with
the help of Eqs. 6.32 and 6.33. The transformed reduced stiffnesses [Qij ] and [ S ij ] can
now be evaluated employing Eqs. 6.40 and 6.41. The stiffness [Qij ] and compliances
[ S ij ] for three composite systems are computed for various fibre orientations and are

listed in Tables 6.1 and 6.2. Typical variations of transformed properties [Qij ] and [ S ij ]
with change in the fibre angle are illustrated in Figs. 6.13 and 6.14. Such plots aid to
the basic understanding of the stiffness behaviour of an off-axis lamina with different
fibre orientations. Note that the case =0 corresponds to an on-axis lamina.

6.11 BIDIRECTIONAL LAMINA

A bidirectional lamina is one which contains parallel, continuous fibres aligned


along mutually perpendicular directions, as shown in Fig. 6.15. A lamina reinforced with
woven fabrics that have fibres in the mutually orthogonal warp and fill directions can also
be treated as a bidirectional lamina. The effects of undulation (crimp) and other problems
associated with different weaving patterns are however, neglected. In Fig. 6.15 the X1' X2'
is referred as material axes. The amount of fibres in both directions need not necessarily
be the same. In a hybrid lamina, even the fibres in two directions may vary, but when the
material axes X1' X2' coincide with the reference axes X1X2 (Fig. 6.15a), the material

173

behaviour is orthotropic and the lamina may be termed as on-axis bidirectional lamina.
If the X1' X2' plane rotates by an angle with respect to the X1X2 axes (Fig. 6.15a), then
the oriented lamina behaves as an anisotropic material and it can be identified as an offaxis bidirectional lamina can also be treated as a two-dimensional problem and its
elastic properties can be determined in an usual manner as discussed in sections 6.6 and
6.10. It may be mentioned that the anisotropy and stiffness behaviour of a bidirectional
lamina can be greatly controlled by varying the types of fibres (say, carbon fibre along
the X1' direction and glass fibre along the X2' direction) and volume fractions of fibres
(Vf) in both directions. When the fibres and Vf are same in both directions, then
E'11 = E'22 and the material behaviour is square symmetric. Note that a square symmetric
material is different from an isotropic material.

6.12 GENERAL LAMINATES

We consider here a general thin laminate of thickness h (Fig. 6.16). The X3 axis is
replaced here by the z axis for convenience. The laminate consists of n number of
unidirectional and/or bidirectional laminae, where each lamina may be of different
materials and thicknesses and have different fibre orientations ( ). A thin general
laminate is essentially a two-dimensional problem, but cannot be treated as a twodimensional plane stress problem as has been done for a unidirectional lamina. The
existence of extension bending couling causes bending, even if the laminate is subjected
to inplane loads only. Therefore, thin plate bending theories are employed in derivation
of constitutive relations. We assume that Kirchhoff 's assumptions related to the thin plate
bending theory are applicable in the present case.
Let u10, u20 and w are the mid-plane displacements, and w is constant through the
thickness of the lamina. Then the mid-plane strains are given by
10 =

u10
u 0
, 02 = 2
x1
x2

and 60 =

u10 u20
+
x2 x1

(6.47)

and the curvatures, which are constant through the thickness of the laminate, are
k1 =

2w
2w
2w
=

,
k
and
k
2
2
6
x12
x22
x1 x2

(6.48)

The strains at any distance z are then given as


1 ( z ) =10 + zk1 , 2 ( z ) =02 + zk2 and 6 ( z ) =60 + zk6

174

(6.49)

Now from Eq. 6.26, we have at any distance z


1 Q11

2 = Q12
Q
6 z 16

Q16 1

Q26 2
Q66 z 6 z

Q12
Q22
Q26

Q11
= Q12
Q16

Q16 10 k1

Q26 02 + z k 2
Q66 z 06 k 6

Q12
Q22
Q26

(6.50)

The stress and moment resultants (Fig. 6.17) are evaluated per unit length of the
laminate as follows:
N1 h / 2 1
M 1 h / 2 1




N 2 = 2 dz and M 2 = 2 z dz
N h / 2
M h / 2
6
6
6
6

Thus,
h/2

N1 =

1dz =

h / 2

A12

10

A16 ] 02 + [ B11
0
6

Q dz and B =

B12

k1

B16 ] k2
k
6

h/2

Q z dz

h / 2

h / 2

M1 =

Q12

11

10 k1

Q16 ] 02 + z k2 dz
0 k
6 6

h/2

h/2

[Q

h / 2

= [ A11

where =

h/2

1 z dz =

h / 2

= [B11

h/2

[Q

11

Q12

h / 2

B12

10

B16 ]02 + [D11
0
3

10 k1

Q16 ] 02 + z k2 z dz
0
6 k6

D12

175

k1

D16 ]k 2
k
6

(6.51)

h/2

where B =

h/2

Q z dz and

D=

h / 2

Q z 2 dz

h / 2

Proceeding in a similar manner, all stress and moment resultants can be expressed as
listed below:
1 A11
A
2 12
6 A16
=

1 B11
2 B12

6 B16

A12

A16

B11

B12

A22

A26

B12

B 22

A26

A66

B16

B 26

B12
B 22

B16
B 26

D11
D12

D12
D 22

B 26

B 66

D16

D 26

h/2

with (Aij, Bij, Dij) =

Q ij (1, z, z ) dz;
2

B16 10

B 26 02
B66 06

D16 k 1
D 26 k 2

D66 k 6

i, j = 1, 2, 6

(6.52)

(6.53)

h / 2

Equation 6.52 represents the constitutive relations for a general laminate, and Aij,
Bij, and Dij are the inplane, extension bending coupling and bending stiffnesses,
respectively. Note that all these stiffnesses are derived for a unit length of the laminate.
The elastic properties of each lamina are generally assumed to be constant through its
thickness, as these laminae are considered to be thin. Then Aij, Bij, and Dij are
approximated as
n

ij = (Qij ) k ( z k z k 1 )
k =1

Bij =

1 n
(Qij ) k ( zk2 zk21 )

2 k =1

Dij =

1 n
(Qij ) k ( zk3 zk31 )

3 k =1

(6.54)

From Eq. 6.52, it is seen that there exist several types of mechanical coupling in a
general laminate. These are grouped together as follows:
Extension Shear

: A16, A26

Extension Bending

: B11, B12, B22

Extension Twisting

: B16 , B26

Shear Bending

: B16 , B26

Shear Twisting

B66
176

Bending Twisting

D16 , D26

Biaxial Extension

A12

Biaxial Bending

D12

As stated earlier, the coupling terms Bij occur due to unsymmetry about the middle
surface of a laminate. However, all terms containing suffices '16 ' and '26 ' are resulted
due to anisotropy caused by the fibre orientation other than 00 and 900. Those
containing suffices '12 ' are due to Poisson's effect. Although a heneral unsymmetric
laminate contains all coupling terms, there are several laminates where some of these
may vanish. These are listed in Table 6.3. There are several important points that are to
be noted here. The first two laminates (serial nos. 1 and 2) which are christened as offaxis laminate and on-axis laminate; respectively are essentially paralles ply laminates
where all laminae in a laminate have the same fibre orientation and therefore are stacked
parallel to each other. These are, in fact, similar to unidirectional laminae. For a
symmetric balanced angle-ply laminate D16 and D26 do not vanish, although A16 = A26 =
0. The only coupling effect that appears in an anti-symmetric cross-ply laminate is the
extension-bending coupling due to presence of B11and B22 and note that B22 = - B11. But
the existence of B16 and B26 cause an antisymmetric angle-ply laminate to experience
extension-twisting coupling. Note also that extension-bending coupling is predominant
for an unsymmetric cross-ply laminate.
The mechanical coupling, as discussed above, influences the deformation
behaviour of a laminate to a great extent. This can be better understood by examining the
deformed shapes of a couple of laminates as illustrated in Figs. 6.18 through 6.20. Here
the dotted lines represent the undeformed shape and the firm lines, deformed shapes.
Consider first a simple off-axis laminate (or unidirectional lamina), subjected to an
inplane stress resultant N1 (Fig.6.18a) and an out-of-plane moment resultant M1 (Fig.
6.18b). We know from Eq. 6.52 and Table 6.1 (Bij=0) that

1 = 11 1 + 12 2 + 16 6

(6.55)

1 = D11 k1 + D12 k2 + D16 k6

Thus, as illustrated in Fig. 6.18a, it is noted that a simple tension causes not only
extension and contraction, but also shearing of the laminate. While the extension and
contraction are due to A11 and A12, respectively and the inplane shear deformation is due
to presence of A16. This characteristic behaviour is seen especially in an anisotropic (offaxis) laminate. The shear deformation vanishes, if A16 = 0, as in the case of an orthotropic

177

(on-axis) laminate (serial no.2 of Table 6.1). Similarly, as can be seen in Fig. 6.18b, a
simple bending due to M1 has resulted not only longitudinal bending (due to D11) and
transverse bending (due to D12), but also twisting (due to D16).
Figure 6.19 describes the deformation behaviour of an antisymmetric cross-ply
laminate. The extension-bending coupling due to B11 and B22 can be clearly observed. In
Fig. 6.19a a simple inplane tension is found to introduce bending in the laminate.
Conversely, a simple bending causes extension of the laminate, a shown in Fig. 6.19b.

Figure 6.20 depicts the deformed shape of an antisymmetric angle-ply laminate.


Here the extension-bending and bending-shear coupling effects due to B16 and B26 are
presented. In a similar manner, the deformation characteristics of other types of laminates
can be illustrated. The most important point that is to be focused here is that fibre
orientation and lamina stacking sequence affect laminate stiffness properties, which, in
turn, control the deformation behaviour of a laminate.

Table 6.4 provides the stiffnesses [Aij], [Bij]and [Dij] for various stacking
sequences of carbon/epoxy composites. The [Qij] values given in Table 6.1 have been
used to compute the above stiffnesses.

6.13 LAMINATE HYGROTHERMAL STRAINS

The changes in moisture concentration and temperature introduce expansional


strains in each lamina. The stress-strain relation of an off-axis lamina (Eq. 6.28) is then
modified as follows

1 S11

2 = S12
S
6 16

S12
S 22
S 26

S16 1 1e

S 26 2 + e2
S 66 6 e6

(6.56)

with

1e 1H 1T
e H T
2 = 2 + 2
e H T
6 6 6

(6.57)

and

178

1H
1
H

2 = C 2
H

6
6

1T
T
2 = T
T
6

and

1

2

6

(6.58)

where the superscripts e, H, T refer to expansion, moisture and temperature, respectively,


C and T are the change in specific moisture concentration and temperature,
respectively, and 's and 's are coefficients of moisture expansion and thermal expansion
respectively.
Note that the spatial distributions of moisture concentration and temperature are
determined from solution of moisture diffusion and heat transfer problems.
Expansional strains transform like mechanical strains (Appendix A) i.e.,
{} = [T ]{} .

Inversion of Eq. 6.56 yields (see also Eq. 6.26), at any distance z (Fig. 6.16),
1 Q11

2 = Q12
Q
6 z 16

Q16
Q26
Q66 Z

Q12
Q22
Q26

1e

e2
6e

(6.59)
z

Thus, for a general laminate Eq. 6.52 will be modified as

1 A11
A
2 12
6 A16
=
1 B11
2 B12

6 B16

A12

A16

B11

B12

A22
A26

A26
A66

B12
B16

B22
B26

B12

B16

D11

D12

B22
B26

B26
B66

D12
D16

D22
D26

B16 10 1e

B26 02 e2
B66 06 6e
+
D16 k1 1e
D26 k 2 e2

D66 k 6 e6

(6.60)

where the expansional force resultants are


1e h / 2 Q11
e

2 = Q12
e h / 2 Q
16
6

Q12
Q22
Q26

Q16 1e

Q26 e2 dz
Q66 z e6
z

and the expansional moments are

179

(6.61)

1e h / 2 Q11
e

2 = Q12
e h / 2 Q
16
6

Q12
Q22
Q26

Q16 1e

Q26 e2 z dz
Q66 z 6e

(6.62)

These expansional force resultants and moments may considerably influence the
deformation behaviour of a laminate.

6.14 STRENGTH CRITERIA FOR ORTHOTROPIC LAMINA

Isotropic materials do not have any preferential direction and in most cases tensile
strength and compressive strength are equal. The shear strength is also dependent on the
tensile strength. A strength criterion for an isotropic lamina is, therefore, based on stress
components, 1, 2 and 6 for a two-dimensional problem and a single strength constant
i.e., ultimate strength X. An orthotropic lamina (Fig. 6.8), on the other hand, exhibits five
independent strength constants e.g., tensile strength X'11t a dcompressive strength X'11c
along the X'1 direction; tensile strength X'22t and compressive strength X'22c along the X'2
direction and inplane shear strength X'12. Hence a strength criterion for a twodimensional orthotropic lamina should involve the stress components '1, '2 and '6 and
strength constants X'11t, X'11c, X'22t X'22c and X'12. We present here a few important
strength criteria that are commonly used to evaluate the failure of an orthotropic lamina.
Maximum Stress Criterian
A lamina is assumed to fail, if any of the following relations is satisfied

t ; 2 22t , when 1 and 2 are tensile


1 11
c ; 2 22 c , when 1 and 2 are compressive.
1 11

(6.63)

6 12
It is assumed that inplane shear strengths are equal under positive or negative shear load.
Maximum Strain Criterian
A lamina fails, if any of the following is satisfied

1 1u t ; 2 2u t , when 1 and 2 are tensile

1 1u c ; 2 2u c , when 1 and 2 are compressive.


6 6u

180

(6.64)

Note that the addition of suffix 'u' in strain components indicates the corresponding
ultimate strains. The ultimate shear strains are also assumed to be equal under positive or
negative shear load. If a material behaves linearly elastic till failure, the ultimate strains
can be related to ultimate strength constants as follows:

t / 11
; 2u t = 22t / 22
1u t = 11

c / 11
; 2u c = 22c / 22
1u c = 11

(6.65)

/ G12
6u = 12
Tsai-Hill Criterion

The general three-dimensional orthotropic strength criterion is given by


(G + H )( 1) 2 + ( F + H )( 2 ) 2 + ( F + G )( 3 ) 2 2 H 1 2

2G 1 3 2 F 2 3 + 2 L( 4 ) 2 + 2 M ( 5 ) 2 + 2 N ( 6 ) 2

(6.66)

Assuming that normal stresses 1 , 2 and 3 an dshear stress 6 act independently and

in the above strength criterion,


substituting 1 = X'11, 2 = X'22, 3 = 33 and 6 = 12
we obtain

) 2 ; F + H = 1 /( 22 ) 2 ; F + G = 1 /( 33 ) 2 ; 2 N = 1 /( 12
)2
G + H = 1 /( 11

(6.67)

Combining Eqs. 6.67 we get


2H =

1
1
1
+

2
2
)
( 11
( 22 )
( 33 ) 2

2G =

1
1
1
+

2
2
)
( 11
( 33 )
( 22 ) 2

2F =

1
1
1
+

2
2
)2
( 22 )
( 33 )
( 11

(6.68)

Assuming transverse symmetry X'22 = X'33 and two-dimensional plane stress case (3 = 4
= 5 =0), Eq. 6.66 reduces to

(G + H )( 1 ) 2 + ( F + H )( 2 ) 2 2 H 1 2 + 2 N ( 6 ) 2 = 1
or,
2

1
2
1 2 6
+ 2 + =1
( 11 )
11
22
12

181

(6.69)

When 1 , 2 or both are tensile or compressive, Eq. 6.69 can be used by substituting the
corresponding tensile or compressive strength constants in it. Thus, if 1 is tensile, X'11 =
X'11t , and if 2 is compressive, X'22= X'22c and so on.
Tsai-Hill / Hoffman Criterion

Tsai-Hill/Hoffman criterion accounts for unequal tensile and compressive


strengths. For a three-dimensional state of stress in an orthotropic material, this criterion
is given as
C1 ( 2 3 ) 2 + C2 ( 3 1) 2 + C3 ( 1 2 ) 2 + C4 1 + C5 2 + C6 3
+C7 4 2 + C8 52 + C9 6 2 = 1

(6.70)

If tensile 1 acts only and 1 =X'11t , then from Eq. 6.70


(C2 + C3) X'11t + C4 = 1/X'11t

(6.71)

If compressive 1 acts only and - 1 = X'11c, then


(C2 + C3) X'11c C4 = 1/X'11c

(6.72)

From Eqs. 6.71 and 6.72, we obtain

C4 =

1
1
1

; (C2 + C3 ) =
t
c
t

11
c
11
11
11

(6.73)

Similarly, consideration of 2 and 3 yields

C5 =

1
1
1

; (C1 + C3 ) =
t
c
t
22 22
22 22c

(6.74)

C6 =

1
1
1

; (C1 + C2 ) =
t
c
t
33 33
33 33c

(6.75)

Now, assuming 22 = 33 , we derive from the above the following relations for C1, C2
and C3:

C1 =

1
1

c
t 11
c
22 2 11

(6.76)

1
t 11
c
2 11

(6.77)

t
22

C2 = C3 =

Further, applying 6 only and 6 = X 12 yields

182

C9 =

1
( X 12 ) 2

(6.78)

Now, considering a two dimensional state of plane stress condition


( 3 = 4 = 5 = 0) and substituting the values of C1, C2, C3, C4, C5 and C9 from the
above relations, the strength criterion takes the following form:

( 1) 2
( 2 ) 2
1 2
1
1
1
1

+
+ ( t c ) 1 + ( t c ) 2 + ( 6 ) 2 = 1
t
c
t
c
t
c
11
11
11
22 22
11

11
11
22 22
12

(6.79)

Tsai-Wu Quadratic Interaction Criterion

For an orthotropic material under a two-dimensional state of plane stress


condition, this criterion assumes the form
F11 ( 1) 2 + 2 F12 1 2 + F22 ( 2 ) 2 + F66 ( 6 ) 2 + 2 F16 1 6
+ 2 F26 2 6 + F1 1 + F2 2 + F6 6 = 1

(6.80)

Considering that the positive or negative inplane shear stress 6 should not affect the
results, the terms F16 1 6 , F26 2 6 and F6 6 should vanish. Hence Eq. 6.80 reduces
to

F11 ( 1) 2 + 2 F12 1 2 + F22 ( 2 ) 2 + F66 ( 6 )2 + F1 1 + F2 2 = 1

(6.81)

Now applying independently tensile and compressive normal stresses 1 and 2 , and
inplane shear stresses 6 , and substitution of 1 =X'11t - 1 =X'11c, 2 =X'22t , - 2 = X'22c
and 6 =X'12 in Eq. 6.81 yields

F11 =

1
1
1
, F1 = t C
C

11

11
11

F22 =

1
1
1
, F2 = t C
C
22 22
22 22

F66 =

1
)2
( 12

t
11

(6.82)

Employing the von Mises plane stress analogy, the remaining interaction coefficient F12
can be defined

183

F12 =

1
2( 22t 22C )1/ 2
t
11

(6.83)

C
11

Combining Eqs. 6.81-6.83, the Tsai-Wu criterian takes the following form:

( 1) 2
( 2 ) 2
1 2

+
+ ( 6 )2
t
c
t
c
t
c 1/ 2
t
c
11
( 11
11
22 22 )

11
22 22
12
1
1
1
1
( t c ) 1 + ( t c ) 2 = 1
11

11
22 22

(6.84)

It is to be mentioned that the Tsai-Wu criterion (Eq. 6.84) accounts for interaction of
stress components as well as both tensile and compressive strength constants and shear
strength and is considered as a reasonably accurate and consistent representation of
failure of an orthotropic lamina under biaxial stresses. The Tsai-Hill criterion (Eq. 6.69)
is also very popular with composite structural designers.

184

Table 6.1: Stiffnesses [Qij ] and [Qij ] for three unidirectional composites (GPa)
Q11

Q22

Q12

Q66

Kelvar/Epoxy

91.87

4.03

1.41

2.26

Carbon/Epoxy

133.94

8.32

2.16

3.81

Boron/Polyimide

242.39

14.93

3.88

5.53

Material

Material

Q11

Q22

Q12

Q66

Q16

Q26

91.87

4.03

1.41

2.26

0.00

0.00

30

54.15

10.23

17.17

18.02

28.12

9.92

45

26.93

26.93

22.42

23.27

21.96

21.96

60

10.23

54.15

17.17

18.02

9.92

28.12

90

4.03

91.87

1.41

2.26

0.00

0.00

133.94

8.32

2.16

3.81

0.00

0.00

30

79.53

16.72

25.17

26.82

40.48

13.92

45

40.46

40.46

32.84

34.48

31.40

31.40

60

16.72

79.53

25.17

26.82

13.92

40.48

90

8.32

133.94

2.16

3.81

0.00

0.00

Boron/

242.39

14.93

3.88

5.53

0.00

0.00

Plyimide

30

142.88

29.15

46.53

48.17

73.87

24.62

45

71.80

71.80

60.74

62.39

56.87

56.87

60

29.15

142.88

46.53

48.17

24.62

73.87

90

14.93

242.39

3.88

5.53

0.00

0.00

(degree)
Kelvar/
Epoxy

Carbon/
Epoxy

185

Table 6.2: Compliance [ S ij ] and [ S ij ] for three unidirectional composites (TPa)-1

Material

S11

S 22

S12

S 66

Kelvar/Epoxy

10.94

249.75

-3.83

443.49

Carbon/Epoxy

7.50

120.66

-1.95

262.47

Boron/Polyimide

4.14

67.27

-1.08

180.96

Material

S11

S 22

S12

S 66

S16

S 66

10.94

249.75

-3.83

443.46

0.00

0.00

30

103.48

222.88

-36.66

312.13

-141.32

-65.50

45

174.12

174.12

-47.61

268.35

-119.40

-119.40

60

222.88

103.48

-36.66

312.13

-65.50

-141.32

90

249.75

10.94

-3.83

443.46

0.00

0.00

7.50

120.66

-1.95

262.47

0.00

0.00

30

60.24

116.82

-26.40

164.66

-77.23

-20.76

45

96.68

96.68

-34.55

132.05

-56.58

-56.58

60

116.82

60.24

-26.40

164.66

-20.76

-77.23

90

120.66

7.50

-1.95

262.47

0.00

0.00

Boron/

4.14

67.27

-1.08

180.96

0.00

0.00

Plyimide

30

40.06

71.63

-21.21

100.42

-50.59

-4.08

45

62.56

62.56

-27.93

73.57

-31.56

-31.56

60

71.63

40.06

-21.21

100.42

-4.08

-50.59

90

67.27

4.14

-1.08

180.96

0.00

0.00

(degree)
Kelvar/
Epoxy

Carbon/
Epoxy

186

Table 6.3 : Stiffnesses for various types of laminates

Case Laminate type

Elastic behaviour

Stiffnesses

I. Symmetric Laminates

1. Off-axis laminate
(all plies oriented
at )

anisotropic
and uncoupled

all Bij=0; Aij= h Qij


Dij = (h3/12) Qij

2. On-axis laminate
(all plies oriented either
00 or 900)

orthotropic
and uncoupled

all Bij=0; Aij=h Qij


and Dij = h3/12) Qij
with Q16 = Q26 = 0

3. Symmetric cross-ply
(odd number of
00 / 900 / 00, etc. plies)

specially
orthropic and
uncoupled

all Bij=0; A16= A26=


D16= D26=0; rest of
Aij and Dij are finite

4. Symmetric angle-ply
(odd number of /- / ,

anisotropic and
uncoupled

all Bij=0; all Aij and Dij


are finite

anisotropic and
uncoupled

all Bij=0; A16= A26=0 rest


of Aij and Dij are finite.

etc. plies)
5. Symmetric balanced angle
ply ( /- /- / , etc. plies)

II. Unsymmetric Laminates

6. Antisymmetric cross-ply
(even number of
00 / 900 / 00/900, etc. plies)

orthotropic and
partly coupled

A16= A26= B16= B26=


B12= B66= D16= D26=0
rest of Aij ,Bij and Dij are
finite with B22=-B11;
D22=-D11

7. Antisymmetric angle-ply
(even number of
( /- / /- , etc. plies)

anisotropic and
partly coupled

A16= A26=B11=B22
B12= B66= D16= D26=0
rest of Aij, Bij and Dij are
finite.

8. Unsymmetric cross-ply
(irregular stacking of
00 or 900 plies)

orthotropic but
coupled

A16= A26= B16= B26=


D16= D26=0; rest of
Aij, Bij and Dij are
finite.

9. General unsymmetric
laminate

anisotropic and
strongly coupled

all Aij, Bij and Dij are


finite.

187

Bij
for carbon/epoxy composite laminates
Dij

Aij
Table 6.4: Stiffneses
Bij

Laminate Thickness : 4mm


[Bij], GPa-mm2;

Units : [Aij], GPa-mm;

[Dij], GPa-mm3

1. 00 / 900 / 00 laminates
0.00
0.00
0.00 0.00
368.28 8.66
8.66 200.78 0.00
0.00
0.00 0.00

0.00
0.00 15.24 0.00
0.00 0.00

0.00
0.00 689.55 11.54 0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00 11.54 69.20 0.00

0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00 20.32
0.00
2. 450 / -450 / 450 laminate
0.00
0.00
0.00
161.83 131.35 41.87
131.35 161.83 41.87
0.00
0.00
0.00

41.87 41.87 137.94 0.00


0.00
0.00

0.00
0.00 215.78 175.14 155.09
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00 175.14 215.78 155.09

0.00
0.00 155.09 155.09 183.92
0.00
3. 450 /-450 /450 / 450 laminate
0.00
0.00
0.00
161.83 131.35 0.00
131.35 161.83 0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00

0.00
0.00 137.94 0.00
0.00
0.00

0.00
0.00 215.78 175.14 125.62
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00 175.14 215.78 125.62

0.00
0.00 125.09 125.09 183.92
0.00
4. 00 /900 / 00 / 900 laminate
284.83
8.66

0.00

125.62
0.00

0.00

8.66
284.53
0.00
0.00
125.62
0.00

0.00
0.00
15.24
0.00
0.00
0.00

125.62
0.00
0.00
379.37
11.54
0.00
188

0.00
125.62
0.00
11.54
379.37
0.00

0.00
0.00
0.00

0.00
0.00

20.32

5. 450 /-450 /450 / -450 laminate


0.00
0.00
0.00
62.81
161.83 131.35
131.35 161.83
0.00
0.00
0.00
62.81

0.00
0.00
137.94 62.81 62.81 0.00

0.00
0.00
62.81 215.78 175.14
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
62.81 175.14 215.78

0.00
0.00
183.92
62.81 62.81 0.00
6. 00 /900 /00 / 00 laminate
0.00 62.81
0.00
0.00
410.15 8.66
8.66
158.91 0.00
0.00 62.81 0.00

0.00
0.00 15.24 0.00
0.00
0.00

0.00
0.00 672.49 11.54
0.00
62.81
0.00 62.81 0.00 11.54
86.26
0.00

0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
20.92
0.00

6.15 BIBLIOGTAPHY

1. S.P. Timoshenko and J.N. Goodier, Theory of Elasticity, McGraw Hill, N.Y.,
1970.
2. Y.C. Fung, Foundations of Solid Mechanics, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 1965.
3. S.G. Lekhnitskii, Theory of Elasticity of an Anisotropic Body, MIR Publ.
Moscow, 1981.
4. J.C, Halpin, Primer or Composite Materials: Analysis, Technomic Publ. Co., Inc.
Lancaste, 1984.
5. R.M. Christensen, Mechanics of Composite Materials, Wiley Interscience, N.Y.,
1979.
6. Z. Hashin and C.T. Herakovich (Eds.), Mechanics of Composite Materials-Recent
Advances, Pergamon Press, N.Y.,1983.
7. S.W. Tsai and H.T. Hahn, Introduction to Composite Materials Technomic Publ.
Co., Inc., Lancaster,1980.

189

8. J.M. Whitney, Structural Analysis of Laminted Composites, Technomic Publ.


Co., Inc.,Lancaster, 1987.
9. J.R. Vinson and R.L. Sierakowski, The Behaviour of Structures Composed of
Composite Materials, Kluwar Academic Publ., MA,1985.
10. S.W. Tsai, J.C. Halpin and N.J. Pangano (Eds.) Composite Materials Workshop,
Technomic Publ. Co., Inc., Lancaster, 1968.

6.16 EXERCISES

1. State the generalized Hooke's law for a three-dimensional elastic anisotropic


material and show that there are twenty-one independent elastic constants for a
triclinic material.
2. Write down the elastic constant matrix for three-dimensional orthtropic, square
symmetric, hexagonal symmetric and isotropic materials.
3. Distinguish between elastic constants and engineering constants.
4. For a two-dimensional orthotropic case, express [Qij ] and [ S ij ] in terms of
engineering constants.
5. Derive expressions for [T ] and [T ] in terms of angle and show that
[Qij ] = [T ]T [Qij ][T ] and

[ S ij ] = [T ]T [ S ij ][T ]
6. Assume properties given in Table 4.4 for Kevlar/epoxy and
carbon/epoxy/composites and determine [Aij], [Bij] and [Dij] for a
[0 02 K / 45 02 C / 0 02 K ] hybrid laminate (thickness 4 mm).
7. Make a critical assessment of various lamina failure theories.
8. Derive expressions for Tsai-Hill and Tsai-Wu strength criteria.

190

191

192

193

194

195

196

197

198

199

200

201

202

203