Dynamic mechanical properties of fibre reinforced plastics
A small gas gun, capable of accelerating a projectile 1m long by 25.4mm diameter to about 50 m/s, and an extended split Hopklnson bar apparatus have been designed and constructed for the tensile impact testing of fibre reinforced composite specimens at strain rates of the order of 1000/s. Elastic strain measurements derived from the Hopkinson bar analysis are checked, using strain gauges attached directly to the specimen and the validity of the elastic moduli determined under tensile impact is confirmed. Epoxy specimens reinforced with plain-weave fabrics of either carbon or glass or with several hybrid combinations of the two in various lay-ups, giving five different weight fractions of reinforcement from all-carbon to all-glass, have been tested in tension at three strain rates, nominally, ~10-3/s, ~10/s and ~103/s. The effect of both hybrid composition (volume fraction of carbon reinforced plies) and applied strain rate on the tensile modulus, the tensile strength and the strain to fracture is determined and a limited hybrid effect is observed in specimens with a carbon volume fraction in the approximate range 0.6 to 0.7 where, at all three strain rates there is an enhancement of the failure strain over that for the all-carbon plies and an increased failure strength, most marked in the impact tests, over that predicted by the rule of mixtures. The fracture surfaces of specimens are examined by optical and scanning electron microscopy and the failure process in the hybrid composites is related to that found in the all-carbon and the all-glass specimens. The classical laminated plate theory and the Tsai-Wu strength criterion are used to predict the stiffness and strength of the hybrid composites from the elastic and strength properties of the constituent plies. Analytical predictions are in good agreement with experimental measurements.