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Composite Structures 50 (2000) 381±390

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Impact energy absorption characteristics of composite structures


Dai Gil Lee *, Tae Seong Lim, Seong Sik Cheon
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Mechanical Design Laboratory with Advanced Materials, ME3221, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and
Technology, 373-1, Gusong-dong, Yusong-gu, Taejon-shi 305-701, South Korea

Abstract
The tensile and compressive tests of glass±epoxy composites with 1±200 sÿ1 strain rates which are typical strain rate range during
automobile crash accidents were performed in order to measure the strength variation with respect to strain rate. The tests were
performed using both a horizontal type pneumatic impact tester and a conventional dynamic universal test machine with strain-rate-
increase mechanisms. Also, the impact energy absorption characteristics of glass ®ber reinforced composites were estimated using
the newly proposed progressive impact fracture model. From the experiments and predictions, it was found that the proposed
method predicted relatively well the experimental results. Ó 2000 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Strain rates; Impact energy absorption; Progressive impact fracture model

1. Introduction Finally, the predicted impact energy absorption


characteristics were compared with the experimental
Fiber reinforced composites have been used for results obtained by the previous researchers [8±10].
structural materials of aircraft and space vehicles thanks
to their superior mechanical properties. In these days,
their use is being increased in various industrial struc-
tures. As composite materials are increasingly employed 2. Tensile and compressive tests under intermediate strain
in mechanical structures, the dynamic as well as static rates
characteristics of composite structures should be con-
sidered for the reliable structures. Therefore, many re- Generally, the split Hopkinson bar tester was widely
searches on the impact behavior of composite materials used to investigate dynamic properties of materials in
have been carried out [1±10]. the strain rate range between 100 and 1000 depending
In the present study, in order to measure the strength on the gauge length of specimens. However, the strain
variation with respect to strain rate, the tensile and rates of automobile body during car crash accidents are
compressive strengths of glass±epoxy composites were 1±200 sÿ1 , which are the comparable strain rates of
investigated under intermediate strain rates (1±200 sÿ1 ) impact speed of 5±13 m/s during impact tests. Therefore,
which were the strain rates during automobile crash the results of the split Hopkinson bar test have a limited
accidents. The tests were performed using a horizontal applicability for the automotive material characteriza-
type pneumatic impact tester and a conventional dy- tion during automobile crash accident.
namic universal test machine with strain-rate-increase In the present study, the e€ects of strain rate on the
mechanisms. Also, the impact energy absorption char- strength of glass ®ber epoxy composite materials in the
acteristics of glass ®ber reinforced composites were es- range of 1±200 sÿ1 were investigated using two testing
timated using the newly proposed progressive impact methods. For the range of 1±20 sÿ1 , strain-rate-increase
fracture model, whose basic scheme is to eliminate the mechanisms with two hydraulic cylinders were designed
fractured part of the composite at each divided loading and mounted on a conventional dynamic Instron ma-
stage. chine (Instron 8032). By these mechanisms, test speed
was increased 10 times both for tensile and compressive
tests as shown in Fig. 1. Since the maximum test speed
*
Corresponding author. Tel.: +82-42-869-3221; fax: +82-42-869-
of the machine was 25 mm/s, the maximum test speed
3210. was increased to 250 mm/s. For the range of 20±200 sÿ1 ,
E-mail address: dglee@kaist.ac.kr (D.G. Lee). horizontal type pneumatic impact tester was designed as

0263-8223/00/$ - see front matter Ó 2000 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
PII: S 0 2 6 3 - 8 2 2 3 ( 0 0 ) 0 0 1 1 7 - 3
382 D.G. Lee et al. / Composite Structures 50 (2000) 381±390

Fig. 1. Experimental setup for tensile and compressive tests with the strain-rate-increase mechanism: (a) photograph of the test equipment;
(b) schematic diagram of the test equipment; (c) section of hydraulic cylinders.

shown Fig. 2. The mass and speed of the impactor were posites whose ®ber volume fraction is 60% are shown in
5.6 kg and 0.25±3 m/s, respectively. Fig. 5. The experiments were performed in the range of
Fig. 3 shows the specimen shapes for the tests. The 1±200 sÿ1 strain rate, whose results are shown in Fig. 6.
gauge lengths of both the tensile test type composite From the results of Fig. 6, it was found that the
specimens and compressive type one were 2.5 mm. For strength of glass±epoxy composites increased about 80%
the tests, a birdcage type jig was designed, which could at the strain rate of up to 50 sÿ1 compared to the strain
insure alignment of compressive loads. And this jig rate of 0.01, which is a normal strain rate during ma-
could apply tensile loads to the specimens by pushing terial testing. Using the measured strength results, the
the outside cage of the jig as shown in Fig. 4. The col- energy absorption of glass ®ber epoxy composites was
umns of the compressive jig were properly lubricated calculated with the progressive impact fracture model.
with grease and their frictional loads were calibrated.
For the measurement of loads, the dog bone type
load cell with four strain gauges was manufactured. And 3. Progressive impact fracture model [9]
the load was measured using a DC type strain ampli®er
(AS2103, NEC, Japan). The measured data were In the present study, the dynamic external load and
transferred to the IBM-PC using an A/D converter. The the energy absorption during the impact of composite
measured strength data of the glass ®ber epoxy com- were calculated using the progressive impact fracture
D.G. Lee et al. / Composite Structures 50 (2000) 381±390 383

Fig. 2. Experimental setup of the horizontal type impact tester for


tensile and compressive tests: (a) schematic diagram of the test
equipment; (b) photograph of the main part.

Fig. 4. Jig for tensile and compressive tests: (a) schematic diagram of
the disassembled jig; (b) tensile test; (c) compressive test.

surface was approximated as a power index equation,


which was the same formulation for the case of a ball on
a ¯at or convex plane surface.
P ˆ kh a1:5 : …1†
The actual values of kh were obtained by the static in-
dentation tests. The indentation amount was measured
both by a dial gauge and by an linear variable di€er-
Fig. 3. Specimen dimensions for dynamic tensile and compressive ential transformer (LVDT) and the test results were
tests: (a) tensile test specimen; (b) compressive test specimen. ®tted using Eq. (1). The nose radius of the loading cyl-
inder for the composite Charpy specimens was 1.5 mm
and that for the composite impact beams was 25 mm.
model, whose basic scheme is to eliminate the fractured
During the impact tests, the same size radius tups were
part of the specimen at each divided loading stage. The
used. The Hertzian contact during impact was modeled
calculated results were compared with the instrumented
as a serial connection of high sti€ness nonlinear spring
Charpy test results (5.21 m/s of tup velocity) and the
of sti€ness kh to the bending linear spring of sti€ness kb
composite impact beam test results for passenger cars
as shown in Fig. 7.
(13 m/s of tup velocity). The Hertzian contact between
Using DÕAlembert principle and geometric compati-
the composites and the impactor was included in the
bility, Eqs. 2(a)±(c) were obtained.
analysis to predict more accurately the initial slope and
peak load during impact. Since the Hertzian contact my ‡ kh a1:5 ˆ 0; …2a†
occurred earlier than the bending fracture, it in¯uenced
only the initial dynamic force. The relationship between kb d ˆ kh a1:5 ; …2b†
the Hertzian contact force P and the indentation a
during the impact of a cylinder on a ¯at or convex plane y ˆ a ‡ d; …2c†
384 D.G. Lee et al. / Composite Structures 50 (2000) 381±390

Fig. 5. Curves of dynamic tensile and compressive tests of the glass±


epoxy composites: (a) tension (e_ ˆ 50 sÿ1 ); (b) compression (e_ ˆ 50 Fig. 6. Strengths of the glass±epoxy composites w.r.t. strain rates:
sÿ1 ). (a) tension; (b) compression.

where a and d are the de¯ections due to the Hertzian


contact and the bending, respectively. After the ®rst fracture of composite specimen, the
For the simply supported center loading of a beam, Hertzian contact was no longer considered. Therefore,
the bending sti€ness kb can be obtained from the me- the impact test of composites was approximated as a
chanics of materials method. simple spring mass system model as shown in Fig. 7(e)
whose governing equation is shown in Eq. (4).
48EI
kb ˆ ; …3†
L3 my ‡ kb y ˆ 0: …4†
where E, I and L represent the YoungÕs modulus, the
second moment of inertia and the span length, respec- The analytical solution of Eq. (4) is as follows.
tively. r r !
Using the numerical calculations of Eqs. 2(a) and (b), m kb
yˆv sin t : …5†
the values of a and d were ®tted as sinusoidal curves to kb m
be di€erentiable n times with respect to time.
The initial dynamic external load was obtained by If the tensile or compressive stress in the composite
multiplying the second derivative of y by the impactor specimen is more dominant than the interlaminar shear
mass m as shown in Eqs. 2(a)±(c). When the external stress, the outer hatched regions of Fig. 8(a) would un-
load reached the critical value which could bring about dergo failure, while the delamination failure would oc-
the tensile fracture or the compressive fracture or del- cur when the interlaminar shear stress is more dominant
amination failure as shown in Fig. 8. as shown in Fig. 8(c). Also, the tensile and compressive
The critical loads for the tensile and compressive parts of specimens would not fail simultaneously be-
fractures with respect to strain rates were obtained in the cause the glass ®ber epoxy composite has a larger tensile
previous chapter, and for the delamination failure the strength than compressive strength as shown in Fig. 6.
results obtained from the previous short beam shear Therefore, the times tt and tc required for which the
tests were used [9,10]. bending stress in the composite specimen reached the
D.G. Lee et al. / Composite Structures 50 (2000) 381±390 385

Fig. 7. Schematic diagram of impact between the impactor mass m and the beam with sti€ness kb and the Hertzian sti€ness kh : (a) real model;
(b) approximated model; (c) dynamic equilibrium using DÕAlembert principle; (d) external loads of the spring due to the Hertzian contact;
(e) approximated model after ®rst fracture occurred.

tensile strength and compressive strength, respectively 10% strain during the fracture as depicted in Fig. 5,
and the time ts required for which the interlaminar shear which was similar to the other previous research results
stress were calculated as follows: [3,6], it was assumed that the real fracture of the com-
r   posite specimens would initiate at 1.1tc rather than at tc
m ÿ1 4rt Z
tt ˆ sin p ; …6a† to make the eliminated part by fracture ®nite. As the
kb vL mkb
fractured part of the composite specimen was eliminated,
r   the YoungÕs modulus, neutral axis, second moment of
m ÿ1 4rc Z
tc ˆ sin p ; …6b† inertia of the composite specimen and the velocity of the
kb vL mkb
impactor was updated in each iteration. To start the next
r   iteration step, it is essential to determine the lower force
m ÿ1 4sd wh
ts ˆ sin p ; …6c† (Fb ) as shown in Fig. 9. Since the displacement of the
kb 3v mkb
impactor at the end of the ®rst step is equal to that of the
start of the second step, the following relationship holds:
where rt , rc and sd represent the tensile, compressive
and interlaminar shear strengths of the glass±epoxy kb
Fb ˆ Fa : …7†
composite, respectively. Also, Z represents the sectional ka
modulus (second moment of inertia/vertical length be- As explained above, the iterative procedure resulted in
tween neutral axis and fractured region), w and h the the dynamic load and the energy absorption versus time.
width and the height of specimen, respectively. Eqs. 6(a) The iterative equations for the velocity, displacement
and (b) were derived from the bending stress relation, and energy absorption of the …i ‡ 1†th step were shown
and Eq. 6(c) was derived from the interlaminar shear as follows:
stress relation. The next step is to choose the minimum
Fi ‡ Fi‡1
time among tt , tc and ts . If tt were selected, then the vi‡1 ˆ vi ÿ Dti‡1 ; …8a†
composite specimens would undergo the fracture of the 2m
base part. If tc were selected, then the upper part frac- vi ‡ vi‡1
ture of the composite specimen would occur. If ts were di‡1 ˆ di ÿ Dti‡1 ; …8b†
2
selected, then it would go through the interlaminar
fracture as shown in Fig. 8(c). Since the dynamic stress± 1
Ei‡1 ˆ Ei ÿ m…v2i‡1 ÿ v2i †: …8c†
strain curves of composites show slight ductility within 2
386 D.G. Lee et al. / Composite Structures 50 (2000) 381±390

Fig. 9. Schematic force versus time diagram of the progressive impact


fracture model for the composite specimen.

During each step of the iteration, the calculated dis-


placement of the impactor was compared to the critical
displacement of the impactor dc , which was de®ned by
the Pythagorean theorem as follows:
s
2  2
Ls L
dc ˆ ÿ ; …9†
2 2

where Ls and L are the specimen length and the span


length, respectively. If the displacement of the impactor
were larger than this critical value, the composite spec-
imen would no longer support external load, but slip
Fig. 8. Progressive impact fracture model of the composite specimen through the jig. At that time, the iteration would be
during impact load: (a) tensile fracture; (b) compressive fracture; terminated.
(c) interlaminar shear stress dominant fracture.
Table 1
Composite specimens for the impact test
Composite type Length (mm) Section (mm) Experiment
Glass ®ber epoxy composite specimen 55 Instrumented Charpy, m ˆ 12.07 kg,
v ˆ 5.21 m/s, nose radius: 1.5 mm

Glass ®ber epoxy composite specimen 55 Instrumented Charpy, m ˆ 12.07 kg,


embedded with Kevlar 29 ®ber v ˆ 5.21 m/s, nose, radius: 1.5 mm

Glass±epoxy composite beam (tubular 520 Pneumatic impact, m ˆ 13 kg, v ˆ 13


type) m/s, nose radius: 25 mm

Glass±epoxy composite beam (box type) 520 Pneumatic impact, m ˆ 13 kg. v ˆ 13


m/s, nose radius: 25 mm
D.G. Lee et al. / Composite Structures 50 (2000) 381±390 387

Fig. 10. Flow chart of the progressive impact fracture model.

Table 2 for each specimen. Fig. 11 shows the static indentation


Mechanical properties of the composite specimen test results for each glass±epoxy composite specimen.
Glass±epoxy Then the estimated energy absorption characteristics of
composite (UGN 150) glass±epoxy composite specimens w.r.t. ®ber volume
Longitudinal tensile modulus (GPa) 43 fractions were compared to the previous test results by
Longitudinal tensile strength (GPa) 2.0 the instrumented Charpy impact test [10].
Longitudinal compressive strength (GPa) 1.2
Fig. 12 shows the values a and d calculated by sub-
Major PoissonÕs ratio 0.28
stituting the experimentally obtained coecients into
Eqs. 2(a)±(c). The calculated values of a and d were
In the present work, this model was applied to several ®tted by using sinusoidal functions.
kinds of composites that were experimented as listed in Fig. 13 shows the experimental and estimated results
Table 1. Fig. 10 shows the ¯ow chart of the method. when the ®ber volume fraction is 60.6%.
Also, Table 2 indicates the mechanical properties of
glass±epoxy composites. The tensile and compressive
strengths are the average values which were tested in the 3.2. Glass ®ber reinforced hybrid composite [9]
range of 10±100 sÿ1 strain rate.
In this case, Kevlar 29 ®bers were embedded in the
3.1. Glass±epoxy composite specimens mid plane of the composite specimen. Therefore, Eqs.
6(a)±(c) should be modi®ed to allow the embedded
The static indentation tests were carried out to obtain material because the neutral axis would not coincide
the Hertzian sti€ness and the values of kh were obtained with the centroid even with the symmetrically stacked
388 D.G. Lee et al. / Composite Structures 50 (2000) 381±390

Fig. 14. Coordinate system for obtaining neutral axis of composite


specimens which were embedded dissimilar materials.

laminates after fracture. If t and e represent the thick-


ness of the embedded material and the distance from the
centroid to the middle surface of the embedded material,
respectively as shown in Fig. 14, the neutral axis yN that
is the distance between the base and the neutral axis of
Fig. 11. Static indentation tests of glass±epoxy composites (vf : 60.6%). the partially fractured specimen is represented as fol-
lows:
0  1
t et tEfe e
1ÿ ÿ2 2‡ 1‡2
h~ B
B h~ h~ ~ fg
hE h~ CC
yN ˆ B C; …10†
2@ t tEfe A
1ÿ ‡
~ fg
h~ hE
where Efg and Efe represent the YoungÕs moduli of glass±
epoxy composites and embedded materials, respectively.
Then, the second moment of inertia I was calculated
by the parallel axis theorem. When the middle surface of
the embedded material is higher than the centroid,
e is positive, otherwise it is negative. Therefore, the
Eqs. 6(a)±(c) were modi®ed as follows:
r  
m ÿ1 4rt I
tt ˆ sin p ; …11a†
kb vLyN mkb
r !
m ÿ1 4rc I
tc ˆ sin p ; …11b†
kb vL…h~ ÿ yN † mkb
Fig. 12. Static indentation tests of glass±epoxy composites (vf : 60.6%).
r !
m ÿ1 4sd wh~
ts ˆ sin p : …11c†
kb 3v mkb

In the present study, tc was the smallest in all cases of


embedded materials. The composite specimen thickness
after eliminating the fractured part by compression was
calculated as follows:
r!
4r I k
h~ ˆ yN ‡ p csc …1:1†tc
c
: …12†
Lv mk m

The removed outer part is of the pure glass±epoxy


composites, which makes the relative portion of the
embedded material increase because the embedded ma-
terial is located at the middle surface. Accordingly, the
YoungÕs modulus, neutral axis, second moment of in-
Fig. 13. Analytical and experimental results of the external load and ertia of the composite specimen and the velocity of the
energy absorption for glass±epoxy composites (vf : 60.6%). impactor should be updated in each iteration as the
D.G. Lee et al. / Composite Structures 50 (2000) 381±390 389

Fig. 15. Analytical and experimental results of the external load and
energy absorption of the glass ®ber hybrid composites (Kevlar 29,
vf;Kevlar : 8.9%, vf;Kevlar means the volume fraction of the Kevlar 29 ®ber,
i.e., vf ˆ VKevlar =Vcomposite ).

Fig. 17. Analytical results of the external load and energy absorption
of the glass ®ber epoxy composite beams: (a) tubular type section;
(b) box type section.
Fig. 16. Coordinate system to obtain the neutral axis of tubular type
composite beams.
p 4 d4 ÿ 
Iˆ …d0 ÿ di4 † ÿ 0 a ÿ sin a cos a ‡ 2 sin3 a cosa
64 64
fractured part of the composite specimen was eliminat- ÿ y2 A; …13†
ed. Also, the static indentation tests were carried out to
consider the Hertzian contact e€ect. where y and A can be shown as follows:
Fig. 15 shows the comparison between the Charpy d03 sin3 a
impact test and the progressive impact fracture model. y ˆ ; …14a†
3‰4pt…d0 ÿ t† ÿ d02 …a ÿ sin a cos a†Š

3.3. Glass ®ber epoxy composite beams d02


A ˆ pt…d0 ÿ t† ÿ …a ÿ sin a cosa†: …14b†
4
In this case, beams with two di€erent sections such The second moment of inertia for the box type beam
as tubular and box type as shown in Table 1 were can be obtained in an analogous manner without any
tested. For these beams the centroid coincides with the diculty.
neutral axis. The second moment of inertia of the These beams were tested with the specially designed
tubular type beam as shown in Fig. 16 was calculated pneumatic impact tester. The impactor mass and
as follows: incident velocity were 13 kg and 13 m/s (30 mph),

Table 3
The comparison of the estimated impact energy absorption with the experimental ones
Composite beam type Results Model Experiment
Tubular type Impactor incident velocity, Vi (m/s) 13 13.1
Impactor ®nal velocity, Vf (m/s) 8.9 8.96
Energy absorption ratio (%) 53.1 53.2
Box type Impactor incident velocity, Vi (m/s) 13 12.9
Impactor ®nal velocity, Vf (m/s) 8.93 8.85
Energy absorption ratio (%) 52.8 52.9
390 D.G. Lee et al. / Composite Structures 50 (2000) 381±390

respectively [8]. Unfortunately the force versus time In order to estimate the impact energy absorption
history during impact was not measured. Instead, the characteristics of ®ber composite materials, the pro-
incident and ®nal velocities of the impactor were ob- gressive impact fracture model was proposed. The
served with the help of optical sensors. Also, the static model predicted relatively well the impact energy ab-
indentation tests were performed to consider the sorption characteristics of composites, however, it was
Hertzian contact e€ects. unable to predict accurately the dynamic peak load
Fig. 17 shows the estimated force versus time and the during the impact of composite structures, which might
impact energy absorption results of each beam and be improved if the di€erent failure strains of composites
Table 3 compares the estimated results with the experi- depending on the strain rate were considered.
mental ones.

Acknowledgements
4. Discussions This work was supported by KOSEF (Korea Science
and Engineering Foundation) under Grant No. 98-0200-
It was found that the progressive impact fracture 01-01-5 and in part by BK21 (Brain Korea 21) Project.
model predicted relatively well the impact energy ab- Their support is gratefully acknowledged.
sorption characteristics of composite structures and the
impact duration, however it was unable to predict the
peak dynamic load during impact of composite struc- References
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