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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Low Velocity Impacts of Variable Tip Radius on Carbon/ Epoxy Plates /

  • Author(s): Delaney, Mac P.
  • et al.

With a growing use of composite materials in aircraft structures, there is a greater need to understand the response of these materials to low velocity impacts. Low velocity impacts from tool drops or ground equipment collisions can be of varying bluntness and can leave little or no visible evidence of damage. Therefore, a need exists to investigate the initiation of internal damage and the relationship between this internal damage and the external visible damage with respect to the bluntness of the impactor. A pendulum impactor was used to impact 76.2 x 127 mm carbon/epoxy panels that were 8, 16, and 24 plies thick. The panels were impacted by hardened steel tips with radii of 12.7 to 76.2 mm. The experimental results show that the failure threshold energies for each panel thickness and tip radius combination occur at a distinct and consistent energy. This threshold increases with impactor bluntness, and this effect is greater for the 8 ply panel than it is for the 16 or 24 ply panels. To describe the visibility of impact damage, the area of delamination was compared to the depth of the dents resulting from the impacts. For the sharper impact tips, there is a clear relationship between the delamination area and the depth of the dents. However, these relationships are dependent on the radius of the impact tip, and for the blunter impact tips no strong correlation could be determined between the delamination area and the depth of the dents

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