Tension Fracture of Laminates for Transport Fuselage—Part I: Material Screening

Walker, T.H., Avery, W.B., Ilcewicz, L.B., Poe, C.C. Jr., and Harris, C.E.

Second NASA Advanced Composite Technology Conference, NASA CP-3154, pp. 197-238, 1992.

Transport fuselage structures are designed to contain pressure following a large penetrating damage event. Applications of composites to fuselage structures require a database and supporting analysis on tension damage tolerance. Tests with 430 fracture specimens were used to (1) identify critical material and laminate variables affecting notch sensitivity, (2) evaluate composite failure criteria, and (3) recommend a screening test method. Variables studied included fiber type, matrix toughness, lamination manufacturing process, and intraply hybridization. The laminates found to have the lowest notch sensitivity were manufactured using automated tow placement. This suggests a possible relationship between the stress distribution and repeatable levels of material inhomogeneity that are larger than found in traditional tape laminates. Laminates with the highest notch sensitivity consisted of toughened matrix materials that were resistant to a splitting phenomena that reduces stress concentrations in major load bearing plies. Parameters for conventional fracture criteria were found to increase with crack length for the smallest notch sizes studied. Most material and laminate combinations followed less than a square root singularity for the largest crack sizes studied. Specimen geometry, notch type, and notch size were evaluated in developing a screening test procedure. Traditional methods of correcting for specimen inite width were found to be lacking. Results indicate that a range of notch sizes must be tested to determine notch sensitivity. Data for a single small notch size (0.25 in. diameter) was found to give no indication of the sensitivity of a particular material and laminate layup to larger notch sizes.