Effects of ply clustering in laminated composite plates under low-velocity impact loading

This paper presents a study of the effects of ply clustering on polymer-based laminated composite plates subjected to a drop-weight impact loading. The tools used to define the impact configurations, as well as the experimental results obtained, are described in detail. These tools are simplified analytical models for the description of the impact behavior and of the damage thresholds that result in a significant reduction on the structure stiffness and strength, caused by delamination. The results obtained demonstrate that the analytical tools are useful to define the impact configurations, to obtain a preliminary understanding of the effects of each parameter that can influence the response, and to interpret the experimental results. It is concluded that ply clustering reduces the damage resistance of the structure. However, the damage tolerance assessed by the compression after impact tests is unaffected by ply clustering ​
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