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Impact Response in Polymer Composites from Embedded Optical Fibers

LORIANNE K. BATTE, RANI W. SULLIVAN, VIPUL RANATUNGA, KEVIN BROWN

Abstract


This study investigates the feasibility of using embedded optical fibers in polymer matrix composite laminates to characterize delaminations caused by low-velocity impacts with energies between 30 J and 50 J. Impact damage can occur in composite structures during manufacture, in-service, and during maintenance. Because of their small size and light weight, optical fibers can be embedded in composite structures during the manufacture of composite parts, allowing the structure to be monitored for impact induced delaminations without being removed from service. In this study, optical fibers are embedded in a grid configuration at four selected locations (one-third from impact surface, midplane, two-thirds from impact surface, and farthest ply from impact) in thick autoclave-cured graphite/epoxy laminates. Low velocity impact testing is performed at four energy levels. Manufacturing procedures for embedding the optical fibers within the composite laminates are investigated. The strain distribution from the optical fibers is correlated with ultrasonic C-scans of the laminates in which they are embedded. Results indicate that embedded optical fibers can provide post-impact strain responses and delamination area from each embedded site within the impacted laminates.


DOI
10.12783/asc2017/15280

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