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Failure Problems In Composites

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 February 2011

Frederick J. Mcgarry
Affiliation:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139
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Abstract

Fiber reinforced polymer matrix composites have become very useful in chemical processing systems, in transportation applications such as automobiles, aircraft and boats, in electrical hardware and in sports equipment. Failures in these rarely involve gross cohesive fracture; usually leaks develop, the stiffness decreases, local delamination occurs, the dielectric properties degrade or the strength declines. Almost all of these failures can be traced to local cracking, either at the fiber matrix interface or within the matrix itself. The cracks are generated by mechanical loads, by thermal excursions or by fluid absorption, because the relevant properties of the fiber and the matrix often differ by orders of magnitude. Current technology attempts to avoid the cracks by maximizing the fiber-matrix adhesion and great progress has been made in this area. An alternative interposes a thin compliant layer, rubber, between the two constituents thereby reducing the stress concentrations which exist because of their greatly different properties. Cracking is inhibited, composite strength is increased and its energy absorption also rises; if the rubber layer is thin (a few thousand Angstroms) no loss of stiffness or heat resistance is evident.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Materials Research Society 1992

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