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Damage Evolution in Non-Crimp Fabric Carbon Fiber/Epoxy Multi-Directional Laminates Under Quasi-Static Tension



An experimental study was performed to characterize the evolution of damage in a unidirectional Non-Crimp Fabric (NCF) carbon fiber/snap-cure epoxy composite under in-plane quasi-static tensile loads. The NCF composites were manufactured using a High Pressure-Resin Transfer Molding (HP-RTM) process and comprised a fast-curing epoxy resin and heavy tow unidirectional carbon fiber NCF layers. Laminates with stacking sequences [0/±45/90] and [±45/0 ] were subjected to axial and transverse quasi-static tensile loads and an in-situ Edge replication (ER) technique was used to capture the damage evolution at predefined intervals. An imprint of the composite microstructure, as observed on the edges of a test coupon, was created on a cellulose acetate replicating tape, which was then observed under the microscope. The onset and progression of ply cracks and delamination, which were the two major damage modes present, were quantified and correlated with the stress-strain curves and changes in stiffness. The influence of stacking sequence and ply thickness are also captured.


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