Failure in woven carbon fiber reinforced plastics under compression

Kink bands in carbon fibre reinforced plastics are the dominant failure mechanism in compression loaded thick composite structures. Meso-scale simulations can offer insight in the origin and the parameters of influence on these kink bands.

PhD Candidate: Jim Schormans
Supervisor: dr. ir. J.J.C. Remmers
Company Advisor: dr. ir. W. Wilson
Promoter: Prof. V.S. Deshpande
Project Financing: STW
Project Period: June 2014 - July 2018

Carbon fibre reinforced plastics are frequently used engineering materials because of their high strength and stiffness with respect to their low weight. They are increasingly used in aerospace applications such as the NH-90 helicopter.

To keep the weight of the helicopter as low as possible, it is preferred to fabricate a large portion of the helicopter out of carbon fibre. One of the components which would be significantly lighter when produced out of carbon fibre is the drag brace used in the landing gear.

Such a carbon fibre drag brace is a thick component which is loaded in compression. To determine the maximum load such a drag brace can sustain, a detailed understanding of the involved failure mechanisms (e.g. kink bands) is required. This project uses several numerical techniques to simulate the material and its failure mechanisms at a meso scale in order to predict its behaviour at the macro scale. In this way, a more detailed understanding of the parameters of influence on the different failure mechanisms can be acquired helping aircraft manufacturers to make lighter and stronger components.