Damage sequence in thin-ply composite laminates under out-of-plane loading

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The study of the damage sequence in polymer-based composite laminates during an impact event is a difficult issue. The problem can be more complex when the plies are thin. In this paper, quasi-static indentation tests were conducted on thin-ply laminates to understand qualitatively the damage mechanisms and their sequence during low-velocity impact loading. TeXtreme® plain weave plies were used with two different thicknesses, 0.08 mm and 0.16 mm (referenced as ultra-thin-ply and thin-ply, respectively), and tested under different load levels. Load-displacement curves were analyzed and the extent of damage was inspected using optical microscopy and ultrasonic technique. The results showed that the damage onset occurs earlier in thin-ply laminates. The damage onset in thin-ply laminates is matrix cracking which induces delaminations, whereas for ultra-thin-ply laminates is due to delaminations which are induced by shear forces and small amount of matrix cracking. Moreover, the fiber breakage appears earlier in ultra-thin-ply laminates ​
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