Composite reliability enhancement via preloading
Bell, David Keith
Wu, Edward M.
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Many Navy applications of composites, including ships' superstructures, submarine air flasks, and missile rocket motor casings, require high strength and reliable materials. Composite strength is dictated by individual fiber breaks at low loads (lower tail) and the accumulation of the fiber failure sites. This study examined the effects of applying a preload to a graphite/epoxy composite tow prior to complete polymerization of the matrix. The objective was to break the (inevitable) weak fibers and minimize the effects of the associated stress concentration, subsequently limiting the clustering of fiber failures. By eliminating the lower tail, the shape of the Weibull distribution is reduced, thereby enhancing composite reliability.
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