Title page for ETD etd-12232009-020534

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Hahn, Steven Eric
URN etd-12232009-020534
Title An experimental/analytical investigation of combined shear/end loaded compression strength testing of unidirectional composites
Degree Master of Science
Department Engineering Mechanics
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Reifsnider, Kenneth L. Committee Chair
Hendricks, Scott L. Committee Member
Mook, Dean T. Committee Member
  • Shear (Mechanics)
Date of Defense 1992-05-15
Availability restricted
The Illinois Institute of Technology Research Institute (IITRI) composite compression test method is probably the most widely accepted as producing accurate results. Difficulties associated with the application of this method, however, have fueled continued research into alternate methods.

In this study, the Wyoming End-Loaded Side-Supported (ELSS) test scheme was investigated in a combined shear/end loaded mode. This system was examined experimentally and analytically to establish the method as a reasonable alternative to IITRI testing. Combined shear/end loading was accomplished by applying a controlled amount of clamping force to the stabilizing blocks, allowing them to transmit shear force to the coupon faces through friction.

The fabrication of test specimens from a BASF graphite IBMI material system is described in detail, including the application of a novel "press-clave" processing system developed at Virginia Tech. This system allows for cost-effective manufacture of flat panels under conditions similar to autoclave processing. For the material system employed in this study, this process proved superior to conventional hot press processing.

Experimental results include strengths and failure modes for both tabbed and untabbed coupons tested by the combined loading ELSS method, and these data are compared to the results by the IITRI method. Strength was found to increase with increasing clamping, but reached a maximum with both untabbed and tabbed specimens. The maximum strength achieved with untabbed specimens was still significantly below the IITRI value, but the tabbed specimens reached strengths comparable to the IITRI data. The failure mode also changed with increased clamping, from end crushing to brooming with untabbed specimens, and from end crushing to shear failure with tabbed specimens. As the strength and failure mode achieved with the combined loading ELSS method using tabbed specimens are both similar to those seen in the IITRI tests, this modified technique can be considered equivalent to the IITRI method. Preliminary data from tests using novel nonbonded tabs were also similar to those given by the IITRI method.

The finite element method was used to analyze the effect of increasing the clamping force. Competing effects of locally complex and severe stresses at the coupon end and a stress concentration which develops at the end of the gage section were shown to limit the maximum strength. Tabs appear to reduce the stress concentration while further decreasing the stresses at the end, allowing results comparable to those given by the IITRI method to be achieved.

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