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Analysis of damage mechanisms in composite structures reinforced by tufting

Abstract : This study focused mainly on the assessment of the mechanical performance and the failure mechanisms of tufted composites under divers loading conditions. Laminated plates and stiffened panels reinforced by tufting was manufactured with different tufting parameters to evaluate their effect in the properties of the composites. Multi-instrumented characterization carried out during the tests assisted the investigation. The tufted plates subjected to short-beam shear tests aided especially in the behavior analysis of tufting density and angle in mode Il loading condition, while impact and compression after impact (CAI) tests on the damage tolerance. Open-hole fatigue tests were also performed to evaluate the tufts response, especially regarding their position to the center hole, to the strain concentration factor generated by the hole. The following part of this work consisted of the mechanical tests on omega stiffened panel reinforced by tufting. The procedure optimized the tufting parameters employed for reinforcing the structures from the previous batch of specimens until reaching an optimal point that the main properties, primarily found in pull-off tests, are equal or superior to those of the control specimens. This improvement also considered the modifications in the shape of the stiffeners. Furthermore, a novel approach based on the piezoresistive effect of carbon tufts under loading of the composite specimens is performed. This may support the monitoring of the health status on the tufted threads and therefore of the composite because of the structural nature of the tufts. The results showed that tufting reinforcements are capable of increasing the interlaminar fracture toughness and damage tolerance of the composites considerably owing mainly to their crack bridging phenomena. The tufting parameters are decisive factors for achieving the best mechanical properties. However, this work reported that tuft threads are also responsible for generating cracks due to the strain concentration and defects caused by their insertion and consequently, can decrease the strength of the composites. The investigation concludes that the random insertion of the tufts is not ideal for the performance of the material and thus must be avoided. The development of the tufting insertion in the omega stiffeners was supported by the multi-instrumented characterization that led to optimizing reinforcement in the structure. Although the study achieved the goal of obtaining mechanical properties significantly superior to the omega panels reinforced by tufting, it is noticeable that the procedure employed is not optimal. The present work also proposes a preliminary finite element model to overcome the costly and time consuming of the experimental tests. It intends primarily optimizing the tufting parameters in the structure. The model developed was capable of predicting the same damage events as observed experimentally, but it still distant from the quantitative predictions of the results. The structural health monitoring of the tufted composite laminates by the carbon threads seems promising and could help in the future for supplying data about the tufts health status under loading that are not achieved by the conventional characterization methods employed in this work.
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Alan Martins. Analysis of damage mechanisms in composite structures reinforced by tufting. Mechanics [physics.med-ph]. Université de Technologie de Compiègne, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018COMP2443⟩. ⟨tel-02021144⟩

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