Speed and temperature effects in the energy absorption of axially crushed composite tubes
Tubes of glass reinforced thermosetting resins have been tested in axial compression between steel platens with one end chamfered to prevent critically high loads causing catastrophic centre failure. By testing in such a manner these tubes crush in a progressive and controlled manner, and are capable of exhibiting high levels of energy absorption, particularly when related to the material mass involved. Polymers are known to display viscoelastic behaviour and polymer composites are similarly sensitive to test speed and temperature. Energy absorption in tube crushing has been shown to be speed and temperature sensitive and the purpose of this project has been to understand the variability of the energy absorption and the associated mechanisms. The main aim has been to show how the two variables interrelate. The materials used have been produced by hot rolling of pre-preg cloth or by resinjection into closed moulds. Reinforcement has consisted of woven glass cloth or random glass mat; matrix materials have been epoxy and polyester resins. Trends to higher values of specific energy absorption with increasing speed have been observed for epoxy matrix tubes, while polyester matrix tubes have shown less certain trends and give lower values of specific energy absorption at high speeds. All the tubes have shown a rapid drop in specific energy absorption with increasing temperature above normal room temperature, with changes in crush mode being very apparent. At temperatures in excess of about 100 degrees C the tubes have failed by centre buckling, the transition temperature from normal crushing to buckling being sensitive to the crush speed. The interrelation between speed and temperature effects has been examined. Three factors that prevent simple interrelation have been identified; these are inertial effects of crush debris, residual stresses in the hoop direction of the tube and frictional heating in the crush zone. Speed sensitivity of the energy absorption has been determined over a range of temperatures and various features of these responses related to the responses of the material properties. Frictional temperature rises have been modelled mathematically and the predictions have been shown to be reasonably consistent with experimental measurements. These temperature rises have been shown to be important in determining the speed sensitive behaviour of the energy absorption levels, particularly for polyester resin matrix tubes tested at high speeds.