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Enhancing Damage Tolerance of Composite T-joint Using Fiber-Reinforcement-Based Crack Arrester



One of the difficulties in composite structural application is joining components. T-joint is one of the important elements in aircraft structures that transfers load between vertical and horizontal panels. In T-joint, there is a problem that cracks occur in the deltoid and readily propagate along the interface between the flange and the skin. Therefore, a crack arrest feature is necessary to improve the damage tolerance of composite T-joints. This current study utilized a novel crack arrester which introduces continuous fibers in the flange/skin interface and suppresses the crack propagation using massive fiber bridging. At first, the feasibility of this arrester and the effect of the stacking sequence were evaluated using double cantilever beam (DCB) tests. The apparent fracture toughness increased more than six-fold in the specimens with arresters. This arrester concept was then applied to T-joint and its effectiveness was evaluated through tensile tests. The specimens with arresters showed totally different failure progress and much higher energy absorption compared to the specimens without arresters. It was confirmed that damage tolerance of T-joints is remarkably improved by introducing the proposed arrester and its performance significantly depends on the stacking sequence of the arrester.


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