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Modeling Impact and Mechanical Response of Carbon-Fiber Reinforced Polymer Composites

ALEXANDER CARPENTER, SIDNEY CHOCRON, RORY BIGGER, NIKKI SCOTT, KYLE WARREN

Abstract


Carbon fiber-reinforced composites typically do not perform as well as materials containing polymer and glass fibers in ballistic impact applications. This is due to the brittle nature of the carbon fibers, which cannot admit the larger deflections required for composite- and fabric-based armors to stop a projectile without breaking. That said, the high stiffness and strength and low density of carbon fiber composites makes them ideal for use in structural regions of vehicles, aircraft, and other assemblies that may be unintentionally subjected to high-rate impacts while in service. Thus, an understanding of the damage mechanisms active in carbon fiber composites during impact and how they differ from those that occur in polymer and glass fiber composites under similar conditions is of interest to anyone performing impact modeling of these materials. Tests of carbon fiber composites with two-dimensional non-crimp and three-dimensional woven architectures were devised in order to improve the understanding and modeling of these materials under impact conditions. Carbon fiber composite panels were subjected to ballistic impact to obtain both residual velocities of the projectiles and backface deflection measurements. Additionally, slow-rate mechanical tests of the composite were conducted to provide information about the material’s response under various stress states. Mesoscale models of the two- and three-dimensional composites were constructed. These models include individual elements for the carbon fiber tows, resin matrix, and interfaces between the two constituents. Results from the finite element computations were compared to both the ballistic impact and mechanical test data.


DOI
10.12783/asc33/25998

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