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Queen Mary University of LondonQueen Mary University of London
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School of Engineering and Materials Science
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PhD Thesis: Compressive Behaviour of Carbon Fibre Polymer Composite Materials

Author: GOUTIANOS, Stergios

Year: 2004

Supervisor(s): Ton Peijs, Costas Galiotis

Laminated fibre reinforced polymer matrix composites (PMC’s) are finding increased use in a broad range of industrial applications, particularly in the Aerospace and Automotive sectors. These materials are attractive for a number of reasons, noteworthy amongst these being their mechanical properties. Composite materials can be constructed to have a range of mechanical properties (e.g. stiffness and strength) by selecting the constituent materials appropriately, by engineering the interfaces between constituents, and by devising the geometrical placement of the reinforcing constituent in the matrix. Issues such as damage tolerance and durability, performance degradation due to aging, fatigue under multiaxial loads and response at elevated temperature are currently being investigated with a view to enhance the confidence levels associated with PMC applications. Cost effective, novel manufacturing techniques, having a minimum impact on the performance indices, are also being sought. Experience with applications of PMC’s for rotor blades, pressure vessels, and other situations that demand for tensile stiffness and strength have shown that polymer matrix composites have superior tensile properties relative to compressive stiffness and strength. Experiments on carbon fibre PMC’s have indicated tensile strengths that are about twice the reported compressive strength values. This low compressive strength is a limiting design parameter which decreases the exploitation of these materials. As a result, the compressive response of the composite materials with long continuous fibres has been a subject of intense research over the past thirty years, and today a substantial body of experimental and theoretical results has enriched our knowledge on this topic. Some fundamental issues, however, still remain open and will be addressed in the current work.

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