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Published 2002 | metadata_only
Book Section - Chapter

Experimental and Numerical Investigation of Shear-dominated Intersonic Crack Growth and Friction in Unidirectional Composites


Dynamic crack growth in unidirectional graphite/epoxy composite materials subjected to in-plane impact loading is investigated experimentally and numerically. The experiments are conducted using CGS (Coherent Gradient Sensing) Interferometry in conjunction with high-speed photography to visualize the crack growth events. Cracks are found to propagate at subsonic speeds in the Mode-I case, whereas in both mixed mode and Mode-II the crack tip speed clearly exceeds the shear wave speed of the laminate. For these intersonically growing shear (Mode-II) cracks a shock wave emanating from the crack tip is observed. This provides direct evidence that the cracks propagate faster than the shear wave speed of the composite. The crack tip speed is initally observed to jump to a level close to the axial longitudinal wave speed along the fibers (7500 m/s) and then to stabilize to a lower level of approximately 6500 m/s. This speed corresponds to the speed at which the energy release rate required for shear crack growth is non-zero as determined from asymptotic analysis. The CGS interferograms also reveal the existence of large-scale frictional contact of the crack faces behind the moving shear cracks. In addition high speed thermographic measurements are conducted that show concentrated hot spots behind the crack tip indicating crack face frictional contact. These experiments are modeled by a detailed dynamic finite element calculation involving cohesive elements, adaptive remeshing using subdivision and edge collapse, composite elements, and penalty contact. The numerical calculations are calibrated on the basis of fundamental material properties measured in the laboratory. The computational results are found to be in excellent agreement with the optical experimental measurements (crack speed record and near tip deformation field structure). For shear crack growth, the numerics also confirm the optical observation of large-scale crack face contact.

Additional Information

© 2002 Kluwer Academic Publishers. This investigation was supported by the Office of Naval Research (Dr. Y. D. S. Rajapakse, Scientific Officer) through grant #N00014-95-1-0453 to Caltech and is gratefully acknowledged.

Additional details

August 21, 2023
August 21, 2023