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Effects of Adiabatic Heating on the High Strain Rate Deformation of Polymer Matrix Composites



Polymer matrix composites (PMCs) are increasingly being used in aerospace structures that are expected to experience complex dynamic loading conditions throughout their lifetime. As such, a detailed understanding of the high strain rate behavior of the constituents, particularly the strain rate, temperature, and pressure dependent polymer matrix, is paramount. In this paper, preliminary efforts in modeling experimentally observed temperature rises due to plastic deformation in PMCs subjected to dynamic loading are presented. To this end, an existing isothermal viscoplastic polymer constitutive formulation is extended to model adiabatic conditions by incorporating temperature dependent elastic properties and modifying the components of the inelastic strain rate tensor to explicitly depend on temperature. It is demonstrated that the modified polymer constitutive model is capable of capturing strain rate and temperature dependent yield as well as thermal softening associated with the conversion of plastic work to heat at high rates of strain. The modified constitutive model is then embedded within a strength of materials based micromechanics framework to investigate the manifestation of matrix thermal softening, due to the conversion of plastic work to heat, on the high strain rate response of a T700/Epon 862 (T700/E862) unidirectional composite. Adiabatic model predictions for high strain rate composite longitudinal tensile, transverse tensile, and in-plane shear loading are presented. Results show a substantial deviation from isothermal conditions; significant thermal softening is observed for matrix dominated deformation modes (transverse tension and in-plane shear), highlighting the importance of accounting for the conversion of plastic work to heat in the polymer matrix in the high strain rate analysis of PMC structures.


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