Damage and Failure Analysis of Co-Cured Fiber-Reinforced Composite Joints
MetadataShow full item record
Joints represent a design challenge, especially for composite structures. Among the available joining methods, co-curing is an efficient way to integrate parts for some applications. Coates and Armanios have proposed a Single Nested Overlap (SNO) co-cured joint configuration, obtained from a single lap joint through the overlap/interleafing of the adjoining top/bottom adherend plies, respectively. Through a comparative investigation, they have demonstrated joint strength and fatigue life improvements over the single lap joint counterparts for unidirectional and quasi-isotropic adherend lay-ups. This research extends the comparative investigation of Coates and Armanios by focusing upon characterizing and differentiating the damage initiation and progression mechanisms under quasi-static loading. Six specimen configurations are manufactured and tested. It is confirmed that single nested overlap joints show 29.2% and 27.4% average improvement in strength over single lap counterparts for zero-degree unidirectional and quasi-isotropic lay-ups, respectively. Several nondestructive evaluation techniques are used to observe and analyze damage initiation, damage progression and failure modes of the studied specimens and to monitor their mechanical response. Using X-ray Radiography and Optical Microscopy techniques during quasi-static loading, a physical characterization of damage and failure mechanisms is obtained. The acoustic emission data acquired during monotonic loading could reveal the overall picture of AE activities produced by the damage initiation, development and accumulation mechanisms within the specimen via parametric analysis. Further AE analysis by a selected supervised clustering method is carried out and shown successful in differentiating and clustering the AE data. Correlation with physical observations from other techniques suggests that the resulting clusters may be associated to specific damage modes and failure mechanisms.