Materials Science and Engineering AI97 (1995) 113-118


Interlaminar shear of woven fabric Kevlar-epoxy three-point loading
K. Padmanabhan, Kishore
Department of Metallurgy, Received Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore

composites In

560 012, India 1994

20 July 1994; in revised form 29 November

Abstract The interlaminar shear behaviour of woven fabric Kcvlar= cpoxy composites in three-point loading has been studied for various span-to-depth ratios and explained. A detailed analysis of the failure modes has been carried out for various span-to-depth ratios and the observed transition from tensile to shear mode of failure explained. The explanation is based on the elastic-plastic model for Kevlar composite beams. The apparent interlaminar shear strength obtained from short beam tests is shown to increase more than the predicted values for a decrease in span-to-depth ratio. The true interlaminar shear strengths of the different woven fabric Kevlar=epoxy composites were obtained from their apparent values. The effect of thickness on the interlaminar shear strength has been looked into and reported. A detailed failure analysis involving methods and scanning electron microscopic examination of the fracture features has been carried out and reported. Keywords: Interlaminar shear; Kevlar -epoxy composites; Three-point loading

1. Introduction Aramid fibres have higher tensile stiffness and strength than glass fibres and a lower density. In the continuous fibre reinforcement form, they are used in epoxy resins for specialized applications where higher stiffness and lower weight than GRP (glass-reinforced plastics) materials are required, for example in aerospace components, sports goods and high-speed high-efficiency vehicles. Composites reinforced with aramid fibres are tough, with good impact energy absorption properties, and are extensively used in special applications such as armour plates, bullet-proof vests and other applications where crashworthiness is a priority. However, they are not considered suitable for applications that involve high compressive and flexural stresses, as these fibres are known to buckle, kink and yield under such testing conditions. Significant contributions towards the understanding of this behaviour have been made in unidirectionally reinforced aramid fibre composites. The investigations of Zweben [I], Fischer [2] and Fischer and Marom [3] described the compressive behaviour of unidirectionally reinforced aramid beams as being elasElsevier Science S.A.

tic perfectly plastic and the tensile behaviour as elastic, and presented a complete elastic-plastic analysis of the same in a test that is a combination of both, namely flexure. Davidovitz et al. [4] have investigated the failure modes and fracture mechanisms in flexure of Kevlar=epoxy composites. The behaviour of Kevlar fibre-epoxy laminates under static and fatigue loading conditions covering unidirectional and crossply orientations has been investigated and modelled by Ganczakowski and Beaumont [5,6]. In our laboratory, studies were carried out on the flexural behaviour of woven fabric Kevlar -epoxy composites [7,8] and later their elastic-plastic behaviour was analysed [9]. The efforts further involved improvement of their performance in flexural and compressive applications through hard surface coatings [10] and asymmetric hybridization with carbon fibres [11]. A detailed study of repair work on the influence of idealized circular defects (unreinforced and reinforced with aluminium buttons) on the flexural strength of these composites was also carried out [12]. The study pointed out that bonded buttons of aluminium metal yield a strengthwise compensation for flexural test samples with dents and depressions.


t 1 0. Padmanabhan.8 "NIJI VJ ~= [1 + ( 1 + 8 c:J 1/2J 4 r\J 0 where c is the chosen span-to-depth ratio and Ccy is the limiting span-to-depth ratio for shear failure without compressive yield. and Ccy has been shown to be [14] Cc Ccy 2r(3r . at which the flexural failure transits to shear failure. ap s =-- 1 + a. normalized to its critical value for compressive yielding [14]. the apparent interlaminar shear strength (elastic ILSS) is shown to be 2r 1 where r' = at!:/acu' We have already shown that at!:. at!: and a~p.0 __________________________ Elast ic beam value 0. atu. This investigation deals with the evaluation of true interlaminar shear strength from the apparent interlaminar shear strength of woven fabric composites based on the elastic-plastic analysis and comparison of the data for various span-to-depth ratios with the thoretical values obtained with the weave geometry and laminate thickness as parameters of interest. though on interlaminar shear strength data are available for the various woven fabric composites including those reinforced with Kevlar. Theoretical considerations Similarly.:. investigative reports pertaining to the comparisons of weave geometry and laminate thickness for various span-to-depth ratios and correlation of the same to theoretical predictions are unavailable. Kishore / Materials Science and Engineering A 197 (1995) 113-118 The effect of shear and interlaminar shear in threepoint loading [13] and the dependence of interlaminar shear on the loading span-to-depth ratio in unidirectionally reinforced aramid fibre beams have also been studied and reported [14].) aeu as p (7) When the flexural (normal) stress is equal to at!: a failure mode transition occurs from a tensile failure mode to a shear failure mode.114 K. (6). Fig. A more recent investigation by Kalantar and Drazal [15. Thus. 1 shows the theoretical plot of the ratio of apparent to true interlaminar shear strength versus span-todepth ratio normalized to its critical value for compressive yielding [14]. A detailed analysis is reported of the failure modes and failure mode transition with changes in span-to-depth ratios for the various test specimens studied. Eq. (1) can be written as 2 as l +acu ap (6) This can be rewritten by substituting r:P = a:P/IXc (where IX = 2 in the present case) in Eq. From the perusal of the available literature. Further. I.4 2 5 6 where IX = 2 (a geometric parameter) for three-point loading and acu is the ultimate compressive strength. (2) is shown to yield r:P[at ce] rs 1+ r 2r (5) For woven fabric composites few modifications are necessary. Eq.I) (1 + r)2 (4) Fig. fractographic features of the sheared specimens obtained through electron microscopy are also detailed.16] gives a clear picture of interfacial interactions and characterization of interfacial shear strength in a Kevlar-epoxy composite. which is given by (3) . A theoretical plot of the ratio of apparent to true interlaminar shear strength versus span-to-depth ratio. Substitution of Eq. atu in a woven fabric composite [9]. The theory for a unidirectional beam has been presented by Fischer et al. Thus. depending on the mechanical parameters like aeu. rs (1) where Ps is the yielded region at failure. and accordingly (8) Due to its elastic-plastic behaviour a Kevlar composite beam exhibits a shift in the yielded region at shear failure in a three-point test. . (1) whose physically be [14] r~P fraction of the beam height to the the instance of pure interlaminar shear can be written in a quadratic form acceptable solution has been shown to ~ (2) 1. (4) in Eq. r =s asap ( 4c a 1+. 2. the ratio between the critical span-to-depth ratio cc. [14]..

is comparable to or higher than O"tu itself. Table 1 Design data on interlaminar Kevlar-epoxy composites Parameter Kishore / Materials Science and Engineering A 197 (1995) 1/3-118 115 shear related parameters of woven fabric K 285/913 (d= 3 mm) K 1039/913 td= 3 mm) K 285/913 id > 5 mm) Fibre vol.41 121 MPa 387 MPa 3. Eq. 3. which arises from the so called "layer effect" (22) due to increased number of layers of fabric.11]. The true interlaminar shear strength of the thicker K285/913 (5 mm) laminate shows a marginally higher value compared to its thinner (3 mm) counterpart. the 4. All the tests were performed under position control mode and the load-displacement response was recorded on a X .72 165 MPa 364 MPa 2. =1= O"tu (i.1.9 490 MPa 3. The specimens for the Table I gives the design data on the test parameters of different woven fabric Kevlar -epoxy composites from various tests. When (1 O"~P = O"tu = O"~(.02 mm s -I. at Ec(exp) T~'P at E = 4 T. The specimens were loaded under compression in an in-plane configuration.3 1. calculated values as outlined in Section 2 have been tabulated for comparison with the experimental values. The tests were conducted at various span-to-depth ratios ranging from 6 to 3 in order to determine exactly the failure mode transition from flexural to interlaminar shear and the critical span-to-depth ratio. The cross-head velocity employed was 0. II]. at E = 4 Ec(calc) Ec(exp) Ecy(calc) acu (exp) atu (exp) v(exp) a~. Wherever required. carried out on the Instron. unlike unidirectional tests.47 140 MPa 406 MPa 2.. The 5 mm laminate is characterized by a higher elasticity in this mode of testing and hence T~P is closer to Ts' The increased elasticity is characterized by a higher flexural rigidity EI (where E is the elastic modulus and I the second moment of area). (7) becomes (9) + r)R 4 = Ec where various mechanical tests were cut to the dimensions specified by the ASTM [17-19].I. The specimens were centre-loaded with the length:support span:thickness (or depth) ratio as 7:5: 1. and the tensile strength O"tu in woven fabric composites has been looked into by us in a previous investigation [9].02 mm s .4 1..5 1.3 5. Results and discussion For cases where expression E C O"~(. The volume fractions of the fibres estimated in the above-mentioned composites are given in Table I.1 MPa 32.2 MPa 4. The sheared surfaces as well as the sides of the specimens failed in the ILSS tests were sputter-goldcoated and examined in a scanning electron microscope (SEM) for fracture surface details. The relationship between the flexural strength O"~(.5 MPa 44. Parameter evaluation and analysis = ------.2 360 MPa 2. The aim of conducting the tensile tests was to determine the ultimate tensile strength of the composites.K. The cross-head velocity used was 0.2 MPa 44.8 520 MPa 56 29 MPa 43. Padmanabhan.0- R(3r-l) (I + r)2 derived by Fischer and Marom [3] may be used. This pseudo-elastic behaviour . It is seen that the calculated values of Ec are the fair agreement with the experimental values obtained.3 5-5. An interesting aspect of flexural and short beam shear testing of woven fabric Kevlar--epoxy composites is that. at Ec(exp) 57.4 MPa 48.5 MPa 4.7 MPa 36. greater or lesser). The mechanical tests carried out were the ILSS.21].e. compression and tension tests. model 8032.8 MPa 29. The reasons are obvious from the table. For ILSS a sample with of 10 mm was chosen in accordance with published literature [20.2 390 MPa Note: All parameters reported are calculated/derived from tests done according to ASTM standards. O"~(.f (E = 16 ASTM) r' (exp) a=P (or) a~.Y recorder. [Some of the data are taken from our previous investigations [7 -9.4 4.5 MPa 50. 4.5 28 MPa 42. The tests were carried out as per the ASTM standard specifications [17 -19]. Experimental details The procedures describing the laminate preparation are given elsewhere [7.02 mm s -I.2 MPa ~6.1-5.2-4. percentage T~P at Ec(exp) T. This is also discussed in Section 4 of this investigation. Thus two different types of Kevlar=epoxy composite laminates of 3 mm thickness containing style 1039 (fine weave) or style 285 (rough weave) [7] and 5 mm thick specimens of style 285 [II] were prepared from prepregs by the autoclave route. The cross-head velocity employed was 0.2 460 MPa 3.5 560 MPa 55 32. The compression test was conducted to determine the ultimate compressive strength of the laminate. All the tests were carried out on a 100 kN capacity servo hydraulic-type testing machine of Instron make.

This means that the yield point is shifted upwards in the load-deflection plot for a 5 mm specimen. as in the present case. Fig. In the calculation of EO'Eq. At E = 3 this effect is at its maximum. Load-deflection ratio of 4: I. (4) we get the calculated value of Ee' The agreement between the experimental and theoretical values of Eefor the composites investigated is found to be fair. especially when the reinforcements are present in the x and y directions in the woven form. against theoretical curves. for a precise quality assessment a comparison between the Is values at the respective Ec(exp) values for various woven fabric Kevlar-epoxy composites is suggested rather than a comparison between them at a fixed span-todepth ratio (say 4: 1). K 1039/913/3mm K28S/913/Smm 246 Normal deflection S (mml 8 plots for ILSS specimens at span-to-depth Fig. M m 3 X Span 4 Depth 1 z a -0- 2 o _. Obviously the state of stress conditions for the various composites are not identical at a given span-to-depth ratio due to the difference in their mechanical parameters that govern their Ec(exp) values . could be attributed to this characteristic behaviour. even though conditions of pure interlaminar shear might coexist. Experimental values of apparent interlaminar shear strength plotted against the span-to-depth ratio and compared with the theoretical values (smooth curve) for various woven fabric composites. Fig. Then the value of r is substituted in Eq. 4(a) clearly shows the loading configuration under three point loading for the ILSS test. By placing the value of Eeyin Eq.75 (for r = 2. Thus. Failure analysis 26 • K28S/913 [3mmJ 2 3 4 € 5 6 Fig. where (J~g=(Jtu. Kishore / Materials Science and Engineering A197 (1995) 113-118 obeying Weibull's statistical analysis which explains this phenomenon has been discussed in an earlier investigation by us [9]. for various woven fabric composites. The desired failure mode of pure inter- . (10) was used for the 3mm thick laminates. From a knowledge of the experimental value of Ee. Naturally. Further. " 0 ~ VI 34 In the present investigation the ]Vfm/My ratio of a 3 mm thick composite beam is . Thus. At E = Ec the (Jtg (or (J~P) (the normal stress) attains a much higher value than (Jtu in 3 mm specimens. at lower span-to-depth ratios. (9) was used for the 5 mm thick composite [K285/913]. The values of I~P and Is so obtained are seen to be higher than those obtained at their respective Ec(exp) values.2. 2. 3. 3. An increasing elastic behaviour and a greater influence of lateral reinforcement on the shear strength.::: and that of a 5 mm 2 thick K285/913 composite is 1. The load-deflection plots for the three types of composite tested at a span-to-depth ratio of 4: 1 are shown in Fig. and Eq. which result in lower Ecvalues as well. (5) to obtain Is' Using the value of (Jeu in Eq. Thus from [9]. 4. I~P is found. = M (3r-1) Y(r+1) (11) 50 C'"s at 0 Ecy [SmmJ [3mmJ [3mmJ K28S/913 K1039/913 K 285/913 $ • • a. Padmanabhan. This is probably due to lower (Jeu and (Jtu values of woven fabric Kevlarepoxy composites compared to unidirectional ones.2). Fig. Our earlier work on 3 mm thick woven fabric Kevlar-epoxy composites showed that the ratio of maximum moment Mm to moment at yield My is a three-point flexure test (at L/D = 16) is ~ 2. 2 shows the experimental points for I~IP for various values of E in ILSS tests. Their I~P and Is values obtained in this span-to-depth ratio are tabulated in Table I. As the span-to-depth ratio is decreased from Ee onwards the experimental values of I~P are found to be more than the theoretical values. All the three types of specimen exhibit a pure interlaminar shear failure at a span-to-depth ratio of 4: 1 (which is lower than the Ec(exp) of all the three types of specimen).116 K. the results pertaining to the differences in their ILSS values appear exaggerated at E = 4. in z-axis loading conditions (like the present mode of loading) a short span (5j1) would give rise to a high normal stress. Table 1 also gives (J~g for E = 16 to E = Ec' The significant increase in (Jtg for E = 16 to E = Ecin these composites is noteworthy. such a composite would be expected to be more linear in the short beam test.. 4 depicts the loading configuration of the ILSS test and possible failure modes. (3) we get Eey.

Two or three such interlaminar shear delaminations were observed in such specimens due to increased number of layers of fabric giving rise to a higher moment capacity under conditions of nonhomogenous stress distribution across the thickness of the beam. Conclusions The following conclusions can be drawn from study. (f) shear and compressive kinking and microdamages on the compressive side. shown by arrows. (d) shear and tensile failure. Fig. 5. Fig. and these shear patterns observed are marked with an arrow in Fig. (1) The cc(exp) values are in fair agreement with ce(calc) for the three composite specimens used in the . samples tested at C = 6 exhibited a failure mode as shown in Fig. as is evident from the fractograph. (c) multiple shear. A typical sheared fracture surface of the ILSS test specimen. Matrix shear cusping along the 0 fibres in an ILSS specimen. Fig. 5. (e) tensile failure. as illustrated in Fig. 3 mm). Kishore / Materials Science and Engineering A197 (1995) 113-118 117 s~ d Tensile Fig. The lateral fibres also exhibit signs of displacement and breakage. in 5 mm thick specimens multiple shear was observed at C = 4 as illustrated in Fig. A closer examination of the matrix fracture features reveal shear cracking along the 0° fibres. The complete shearing of the 0° fibres from the matrix of a sheared surface of an ILSS test specimen failed at c = 4 is illustrated in Fig. the common failure mode observed in the samples was that of an interlaminar shear failure preceded or accompanied by a tensile failure. At C = Ce or greater. However. 4. 4(e). 6. Apart from the visually observed failure modes in the ILSS test. Padmanabhan. 4(d) (mostly 5 mm samples) or a simple tensile failure in cases where the specimens were thinner (i. (b) single shear. post-fracture observations of the sheared surfaces in a SEM reveal more information about the fracture features. 4(c). Loading configuration and failure modes in Kevlar-epoxy woven fabric specimens: (a) ILSS test. 4(f) illustrates this situation. 7. 4(c). However.K. For samples tested near ccy' interlaminar shear accompanied by microdamage and fibre layer kinking were observed on the compression side of the specimens. 7 reveals (I. 0 Fig. observed through an SEM. Multiple shear in a 5 mm thick specimen. As stated in the previous section at C = 4 this mode of failure was observed in all the specimens. Fig. 4(d).e. laminar shear unaccompanied by any other failure mode is usually achieved between the span-to-depth ratios of Ce and ccy (Fig. 5. 6. This situation is illustrated in Fig. magnified view of the multiple shear observed in 5 mm thick ILSS specimens described earlier in Fig. 4(b)).

Kalantar and L. in S. [19) H.) thanks the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). Lett. [9) K. 208. Compos. Sci. 1989. [II) K. 25 (1986) 69. [21) C. 228. I.03.. M. Fischer and G. 25 (1990) 4186.:::. American Society for Testing and Materials. Sci.I 18 study. sci. [6) H. [8] K. 15 (1991) 354. sct. [14) 1. Annual Book of ASTM Standards. Sashidhara and Kishore. Padmanabhan and Kishore. Con}: Plastics Institute. Fischer. 37 (1988) 137. 1979.). Kishore / Materials Science and Engineering AI 97 (1995) 113. J.P. without the aid of parameter evaluation techniques. Int. (3) The logistics of comparing the composite laminates for their ILSS property have been enumerated. Compos. A.R.15. Sci. Beaumont.L. Joy. Wardle. 36 (1989) 299. Fibre. Technol. [20) G. PA. ASTM STP 674.W. VoI. Philadelphia. Marorn. Padmanabhan and Kishore. J. J. [5) H. Int. Sci. su. Vo1. [10) K. Technol. Ganczakowski and P.. This has been shown to arise because the beam tends to be more elastic due to increased number of layers. 1971. Int. Multiple shear delaminations observed in thick (5 mm) specimens are also reported. Zweben. s«. One of the authors (K. Drazal. Sci. Bradshaw. (4) The experimenal vlaues of r:P were higher than their predicted values as Ec approached Ecy. PA.3039-76. Roman and G. Mater. Marom.15. Fract. (5) The failure modes and the mode transition observed have been analysed with respect to the structural and mechanical parameters. thereby enhancing the flexural rigidity and causing the M m / My ratio to shift down from 2 to 1. 65 (1994) 59. Chief Manager. 28 (1993) 367.R. Composite Materials Testing and Design (Fifth Conference). [12) K. The fracto graphic features observed through an SEM reveal shearing of the 0° fibres and matrix shear cusping in the same direction. Rein}: Plast. Zweben. Vol. [17) ASTM STPP D3410-87. Ganczakowski and P. J. Fract. [13) S.. Lett. Mater.T. Tsal (ed.T. The failure mode transition also provides a fair indication of the critical spanto-depth ratio for shear.A. PA.. Sidey and F. Padmanabhan. elastic modulus second moment of area bending moment ratio of ultimate tensile strength to interlaminar shear strength ratio between ultimate tensile and compressive strength ratio between apparent tensile strength in flexure to ultimate compression strength span-to-depth ratio fraction of beam height to yielded region tensile or compressive stress shear stress and subscripts Superscripts ap c cu cy m s tu y apparent critical ultimate compression compressive yielding maximum at interlaminar shear failure ultimate tensile at yield .. I I (1992) 211. J. S. Forum. Compos. Technol... Technol.R. M. [18) ASTM STP D. Bangalore. 1. 36 (1989) 320. Mater. Mater. for financial assistance.118 K. p. Chai.. 1989.1. p. Broadly. Padmanabhan and Kishore.L. [7) K. for the support during the fabriction of the laminates. Beaumont. [IS] 1. J. J. Marorn. American Society for Testing and Materials.03.. American Society for Testing and Materials. Compos. Fischer.W. Sci. 19 (1984) 377. London. New Delhi. an aspect to be borne in mind by designers as well as testing personnel. Philadelphia. Mater. Compos.. Mater. S. Smith and M. Padmanabhan and Kishore. The role played by the lateral reinforcement and the beam elasticity have been highlighted in this regard.. Mater.75. American Society for Testing and Materials. PA. Padrnanabhan. 12 (1978) 422. in Proc. Drazal..03. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. E p (J" r References [1] [2] [3] [4] C.S.W. Nomencluture E I M R r r' Acknowledgements The authors express their sincere thanks to Dr. Philadelphia. 1. J. 9 (1990) 1109. Mater. (2) The improvement in ILSS due to increased thickness (or layers of fabric) is evident. Davidovitz. Annual Book of ASTM Standards. Appendix A. 27 (1992) 4282. Metall.5. 20 (1984) 91. 4 (1985) 659. for the composites used in this study Ec(exp) was. [16) ASTM STP D 2344-84. Mittleman. 25 (1990) 4194.W. I 5. W. Padmanabhan and Kishore. The evaluation of ILSS at Ec(exp) and at a fixed span (4:1) for the three composites shows that for all quality assessment proposes a comparison at their respective Ec values is more practical than using a common span-todepth ratio.. Philadelphia. Annual Book of ASTM Standards. V. Kalantar and L. S. Scr. Mater. Rosensaft and G. 1989.

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