In-plane compression of preconditioned carbon/epoxy panels
This thesis investigates the effects of damage characteristics on residual compressive strength (RCS) of 4-mm thick preconditioned carbon/epoxy quasi-isotropic panels through the study of their compressive behaviour. Results of 2-mm thick preconditioned panels mostly from a previous study are also analysed. The preconditions of varying sizes include impact damage, quasi-static damage, single and multiple artificial delaminations of circular and elliptical shapes embedded at different through-the-thickness (TTT) locations, hemispherical-shaped domes of different curvature and depth and open holes. The mechanisms of impact damage and the characteristics of energy absorption were dependent on panel thickness and incident kinetic energy (IKE). A damage threshold for compressive strength (CS) reduction was found at 455-mm2 and 1257 mm2 for 2- and 4-mm thick panels, respectively. Panels affected by the presence of internal delaminations followed a sequence of prebuckling, local and global buckling (mode I) and postbuckling (mode II) in both the longitudinal and transverse directions. Their compressive failure was related to mode I to II transition. Possibility of delamination propagation was examined using response characteristics on the basis of the sequences. Evidence of delamination propagation was found only in panels with large damages and was not sensitive to RCS. For low and intermediate IKEs the effect of impact damage could be simulated with a single delamination (2-mm thick panels) and 3 delaminations of medium size (4-mm thick panels). For high IKEs, the additional effect of local curvature change was significant. The combined effect of delamination number, size and curvature change determines the RCSs. It was demonstrated that the present method of embedding artificial delaminations proves to be very useful for studying RCS of impact-damaged panels via the establishment of response characteristics and their links to the effects of the preconditions on them. This thesis also presents two analytical models, one for deflection of transversely loaded panels and the other one for the prediction of compressive strength retention factor (CSRF) based on the correlation between the ratio of maximum transverse force to initial threshold force and the CSRF, observed experimentally in thick panels.