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Force criterion prediction of damage for carbon/epoxy composite panels impacted by high velocity ice

  • Author(s): Rhymer, Jennifer D.
  • et al.

The use of advanced fiber-reinforced polymer matrix composites in load-bearing aircraft structures is increasing, as evident by the various composites-intensive transport aircraft presently under development. A major impact source of concern for these structures is hail ice, which affects design and skin-sizing (skin thickness determination) at various locations of the aircraft. Impacts onto composite structures often cause internal damage that is not visually detectable due to the high strength and resiliency of the composite material (unlike impacts onto metallic structures). This internal damage and its effect on the performance of the structure are of great concern to the aircraft industry. The prediction of damage in composite structures due to SHI impact has been accomplished via experimental work, explicit dynamic nonlinear finite element analysis (FEA) and the definition of design oriented relationships. Experiments established the critical threshold and corresponding analysis provided contact force results not readily measurable in high velocity SHI impact experiments. The design oriented relationships summarize the FEA results and experimental database into contact force estimation curves that can be easily applied for damage prediction. Failure thresholds were established for the experimental conditions (panel thickness ranging from 1.56 to 4.66 mm and ice diameters from 38.1 to 61.0 mm). Additionally, the observations made by high-speed video during the impact event, and ultrasonic C-scan post-impact, showed how the ice failed during impact and the overall shape and location of the panel damage. Through analysis, the critical force, the force level where damage occurs above but not below, of a SHI impact onto the panel was found to be dependent only on the target structure. However, the peak force generated during impact was dependent on both the projectile and target. Design-oriented curves were generated allowing the prediction of the allowable velocity for given SHI diameter impact onto a known panel in order to estimated damage. Finally, a scaling relationship was established to predict the peak force developed onto composite panels impacted by SHI. This is useful in reducing the amount of experimental investigations, or computationally expensive simulation work, that would otherwise need to be performed to obtain these results

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