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Int J Adv Manuf Technol (2010) 50:659666 DOI 10.

1007/s00170-010-2525-6

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Study on vital static properties of fine blanking of GFRP composites with that of conventional drilling
G. Baskaran & S. Gowri & R. Krishnamurthy

Received: 24 January 2009 / Accepted: 7 January 2010 / Published online: 3 February 2010 # Springer-Verlag London Limited 2010

Abstract Among the high performance engineering materials, fiber-reinforced plastics play an important role. The present work is concerned with the comparison of vital static strength properties of fine blanking with conventional drilling on hand lay-up made glass fiber-reinforced plastic (GFRP) laminates of four different reinforcement lay-up sequences such as unidirectional [0/0]n, angle ply [045]ns, quasi-isotropic [0/45/90]ns, and cross-ply [0/90]n. Observation includes tensile and flexural bending strengths of the specimens without hole and with hole by conventional drilling and fine blanking. In this work, an endeavor has been made to simulate the service conditions to determine their effect on the response of composite laminates. Detailed studies on GFRP composites when subjected to different loading environments such as static loading, particularly tensile loading, and low frequency high amplitude (fatigue) loading were carried out. The response of the composite laminates to these service environments has been evaluated in terms of flexural strength and modulus. From the tensile study, it was observed that by inserting a hole at center by drilling, the strength was reduced to one third, and by inserting a hole at center by fine blanking, the strength was
G. Baskaran (*) Department of Mechanical Engineering, Tagore Engineering College, Chennai 600 048, India e-mail: bhaskarang01@yahoo.com S. Gowri Department of Manufacturing Engineering, Anna University, Chennai 600 025, India R. Krishnamurthy Manufacturing Engineering Section, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai 600 036, India

increased nearly 20% than that of drilling. Apart from this, the flexural test conducted on polymeric composite specimens showed that an exposure to low frequency and high amplitude loading enhances the flexural strength up to certain duration of exposure, beyond which, due to accumulation of damage within the composites, the flexural strength reduces with number of cycles. This can be attributed to possible strain-induced stiffening of fibers and interface. Keywords GFRP composites . Low cycle fatigue test . Flexural strength . Tensile test

1 Introduction Fiber-reinforced polymeric composites find widespread applications involving high and low engineering concepts. This is due to their unique properties of light weight, stiffness, and high strength weight ratio. During processing and servicing, the composite materials exhibit defects such as matrix crazing, fiber breakage, fiber pull-out, delamination, and debonding. These are associated with multimechanisms which pose problems to damage modeling. Delamination can be either local or covering a wide area. It can occur either during the curing phase of the resin in the manufacturing stage or during the subsequent service life of the laminated part. Delaminations constitute a severe discontinuity; because they do not transfer interlaminar shear stresses under compressive loads, they can cause rapid and catastrophic buckling failure [1, 2]. Hence, utmost care is to be exercised to attain defect-controlled machining performance. Among the fiber-reinforced composites, glass fiber-reinforced polymeric (GFRP) composites are the most widely used in structural constructions, owing to their specific strength properties.

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Int J Adv Manuf Technol (2010) 50:659666

Impact damage in composites comprises fiber failure, matrix cracking, fiber/matrix debonding, and delamination. Bending and stretching of the laminate cause fiber failure. Delamination is due to the bending stiffness mismatch and transverse shear. The largest delamination will be present between the laminae with the largest difference in ply orientation [3]. Matrix cracking is mainly due to shear. The combinations of damage types affect the tensile as well as the compressive strength of the composite. This damage may further grow under cyclic loading; hence, it may be necessary to specify permissible tolerance (load) of damage in composite. Damages such as delamination and debonding can result in the relative gliding of structural elements on each other, resulting in local frictional heating. This in turn can increase the temperature of the structure, reducing thereby its resistance to fatigue, i.e., interface strength can largely contribute to the fatigue resistance. Another interesting aspect of the fatigue behavior of composites is that even after moderate duration of fatigue, the occurrence of localized effects, such as matrix crazing, and even fiber breakage can facilitate relaxation of stress concentration, thereby maintaining the static strength. Hence, in the present study, the polymeric composites were tested for their response to fatigue loading in terms of stiffness. The fatigue loading during tests on composite materials has to be chosen carefully. There is strong correlation, both in trend and quantitative, between the change in static stiffness and matrix type damage, primarily in the amount of debonding and cracking that is generated around fiber breakage during fatigue [4]. In homogenous material, a crack, once formed, rapidly grows, leading to final fracture. However, in composites, even visible cracks do not lead to immediate fracture. They may even grow in a way to relieve stress concentration on fibers. Further, since they occur throughout the volume of weak plies in a laminate, a reduction in modulus may result. The above discussion illustrates important aspects of failure/damage in polymeric composites, associated mechanically, and also the need for damage tolerance. Mostly, the materials used in the assembly involve fasteners/rivets. The growing use of composite materials and the need to machine them to obtain the required final geometric form demands an increased focus on the machining of composites. Among the different machining processes, drilling is a vital and economically crucial operation. Several hole production processes, including conventional drilling, ultrasonic drilling, laser drilling, and water-jet drilling, have been tried out for a variety of economic and quality reasons, but conventional drilling is still the most widely used technique in the industries today [5, 6]. This is mostly attributable to differences in thermal and related properties of the matrix and reinforcement, as

well as poor electrical conductivity posing serious constraints to nontraditional machining. Machining of fiberreinforced composites differs significantly from machining conventional metals and their alloys. In the former, the material's behavior depends on diverse fiber and matrix properties, fiber orientation, and relative volume of the matrix and the fibers [7]. The tool continuously encounters alternate matrix and fiber materials, whose response to machining can vary greatly while experiencing force fluctuations and consequent deterioration in tool performance. Apart from force fluctuations, cutting tools also experience severe abrasion wear on the flank surface, due to encounter with hard glass fiber. This necessitates complex requirements for the cutting tool material. Hence, many researchers evaluated the strength parameters of the composite with and without drilled holes. Fine blanking is also a method for making a hole in GFRP composites, which gives high quality holes than conventional drilling [8]. In fine blanking, the material is held in constraint by a special hydraulic clamping system in the press. The forces acting in the fine blanking are given in Fig. 1. Fine blanking is a sheet metal working process producing 100% perfectly sheared and smooth edges over the full workpiece thickness in one single operation, whilst conventional blanking results in an approximate one third smooth-sheared zone and a two third fractured zone. Moreover, the blanks produced by the latter process show a curvature due to the bending moment occurring during the blanking operation. If the sheared edges are later to have a particular function, the edges produced by the conventional blanking cannot normally satisfy the needs and will generally have to undergo at least one further secondary operation. Fine blanking process can produce parts with close tolerances and a very high quality surface by eliminating any post-working on the blanked surface. These advantages over normal blanking are possible due to
Clamping Force (Vee-ring) Clamping Force (Vee-ring)

PUNCH

MATERIAL

Die

Die

Counter Force

Fig. 1 Forces acting in the fine blanking

Int J Adv Manuf Technol (2010) 50:659666 Table 1 Details of the workpiece materials Type of glass fiber reinforcement Matrix (liquid) Hardener (powder) Volume fraction of the fibers Types of laminates (based on fiber orientation and lay-up) fabricated Unidirectional Mat (UDM) Epoxy resin (LY 556) HT 972 0.40 [0]n, [0/90]n, [0/45]n, and [0/45/90]n

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a very special tool design which differentiates itself from that of normal blanking in three ways: (1) the clearance between punch and die plate is maintained around bare minimum of 1% of the sheet thickness, which does not allow edge bending and fracturing; (2) the vee-ring, which follows the outer periphery of the part, form on the blank holder; and (3) the use of counter punch, which provides pre-blanking hoop pressure ensuring perfect shearing and avoiding edge tearing/fracturing. When all of these conditions have been satisfied, that is, minimal punch clearance, material clamping pressure, and counter pressure, the fine blanking process can occur. The provision of such conditions can facilitate minimum bending of the fiber reinforcement and ensures the absence of debonding/ delamination. By using ultrasonic C scan method, the delamination factor was measured in both drilling and fine blanking process. From this method, it was observed that fine-blanked hole gives high quality compared to that of drilled one. Ultrasonic has been used in the past for the determination of mechanical strength with water content being of prime concern. Ultrasonic testing is one of the most popular nondestructive testing techniques for the evaluation of bond quality and defects, such as delaminations [9, 10].

Fig. 3 Flexural specimen

2 Experimentation The work material was GFRP which was cut into pieces as per American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standard considering different fiber orientations like 0, 45, and 90. The laminates were made by hand lay-up method of volume fraction of 40% of glass fiber. The matrix was epoxy with 27% hardener. The following orientations of the laminates were laid: 00, 045, 0

90, and 04590. The details of the workpiece are shown in Table 1. The GFRP laminates were properly cut for the dimensional requirement as per the ASTM standards like 30025 for tensile and 8010 for flexural tests as shown in Figs. 2 and 3, respectively. The holes on the specimens were made by both drilling and fine blanking separately for tensile and flexural tests as shown in Figs. 2 and 3. The parameters of the drilling machine and the fine blanking machine used are shown in Tables 2 and 3, respectively. One approach for defining damage is through indirect measurement that is through offline measurement. Most of the design applications involve cantilever beam type loading; hence, initial trials on polymeric composite have been undertaken to evaluate its response to flexural bending. Polymeric composite specimen was held as a cantilever beam in a laboratory designed set up and subjected to flexural bending. The specimens were loaded and unloaded repeatedly for several times to determine the

Fig. 2 Tensile specimen

662 Table 2 Drilling machine parameters Machine used Speed Feed Cutting medium Drill size HMT column type radial drilling machine 700 rpm 0.15 mm/rev Dry 6 mm

Int J Adv Manuf Technol (2010) 50:659666

response of the polymeric composite in terms of the permanent set of the deflection if any and the amount of energy absorbed during plastic deformation. For this analysis, four laminates of GFRP by varying the fiber orientation, i.e., 00, 045, 090, and 04590 were taken. In this study, GFRP composite specimens with and without holes were subjected to cyclic impact using a cam arrangement. This cyclic load was given to the specimens in vertical milling machine as shown in Fig. 4. For this, a cam arrangement was made for the offset of 3 mm, which was fixed at the spindle. The workpiece was fixed in the vice for 8 mm as shown in Fig. 5. A hole was made by drilling and fine blanking separately in some of the specimens near the clamping end (at a distance of 13 mm from the clamping end), since the stress will be maximum there only. Then, the cyclic load was given at the free end of specimen to the full thickness of the cam, i.e., 11.5 mm, since there only we can give maximum bending load. The cam speed was fixed constant at 900 rpm; only the cyclic loading time was maintained for 10, 20, 30, 45, and 60 min. Flexural strength of the specimens was estimated by testing them in Instron universal testing machine (UTM). The test parameters are shown in Table 4. Tensile strength and modulus of elasticity are considered to be the important design parameters for polymers [11]. The mechanical deformation of commercial polymers is associated with viscoelastic behavior. Although strength and modulus values are important parameters for these materials, design applications frequently involve flexural/ bending, rather than pure tensile, compressive, or shear modes. As a result, flexural strength and flexural modulus

Fig. 4 Cam arrangement and workpiece set up in vertical milling machine

are often quoted. An important advantage of flexural modulus for polymers is that it describes the combined effect of compressive deformation and tensile deformation. For metals, the tensile and compressive moduli are generally the same. For many polymers, the tensile and compressive moduli differ significantly. In case of metals, the elastic modulus is constant throughout the elastic region. In case of polymers, the elastic modulus increases with increasing strains. The different path of response during loading and unloading constitutes the hysteresis effect. This accounts for the changes in modulus and strain. The response of the polymer for loading/unloading cycles along with that of the reinforcing fiber will describe the response of the polymeric composites to loadunload cycles.

Table 3 Fine blanking process parameters Machine used Capacity V ring force (optimum) Counter force (optimum) Cutting speed Total force Diameter of the punch Die clearance Feinstanz ag. Heinrich Schmid rapper swil schweiz 250 tones 6 bar 5 bar 45 mm/s 100 tones 6 mm 20 m

Fig. 5 Cam arrangement and workpiece set up

Int J Adv Manuf Technol (2010) 50:659666 Table 4 Instron universal testing machine parameters Model Capacity Force rating Full scale load range Load weighing system accuracy Position measurement accuracy Position measurement repeatability Cross-head speed range Cross-head speed accuracy Instron universal testing machine, No:4301 5 kN 5 kN up to 500 mm/min 0.5 N to 5 kN BS 1610 A, ASTM E 83 0.1 mm 0.05 mm 0.5 to 500 mm/min 0.5% over 100 mm (no load)

663 Table 5 Comparison on average tensile strength in drilling and fine blanking Laminate type Tensile strength Without hole (MPa) [0/0] [0/45] [0/90] [0/45/90] 3,006 885.5 2,307 1,670.5 With hole by drilling (MPa) 1,054 288.5 733.5 582 With hole by fine blanking (MPa) 1,297.25 323.5 910.25 722.25

3 Results and discussion Flexural strength is one of the basic requirements for high performance structures, such as aircraft frames. In this present study, GFRP composites with different fiber orientations were tested for their flexural strength, through three-point bending test in standard Instron UTM as shown in Fig. 6. This Instron UTM gives the maximum load at failure and the loaddeflection curve for the particular specimen. By using the following formulae, the flexural strength and flexural modulus were calculated: Flexural strength s UF 3 Pmax L=2 bh2 Flexural modulus EF m L3 =4 bh3 where Pmax L b h m Maximum load at failure in N Distance between centers of support in m Width of the specimen in m Thickness of the specimen in m Initial slope of the loaddeflection curve 3.1 Observations on tensile testing By taking four specimens from each laminate, the tensile strength was calculated for the specimens without hole, with hole at center by drilling, and with hole at center by fine blanking. Then, by keeping equal distance from center, two holes were made by both drilling and fine blanking separately and tested for tensile strength as shown in Fig. 2.

The test specimens include the one with a drilled hole, one with fine-blanked hole, and the third without any hole. Also, the specimen was exposed to low cycle, high amplitude fatigue loading, and eventually tested for flexural bend characteristics.

Fig. 6 Three points bend test rig

Fig. 7 a Variation of tensile strength on 0/0 and 0/45/90 specimens. b Variation of tensile strength on 0/45 and 0/90 specimens

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Variation of flexural strength with number of cycles on (0/0) specimens

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Variation of flexural strength with number of cycles on (0/45) specimens

450

Flexural Strength (N/mm2)

Flexural Strength (N/mm2)

400 350 300 250 200

Without hole With hole (Drilling) With hole (Fine blanking)

180 160 140 120 100


With hole (Drilling) Without hole With hole (Fine blanking)

18000

36000 54000 No. of cycles

72000

18000

36000 No. of cycles

54000

72000

Fig. 8 Flexural strength on 0/0 specimens

Fig. 10 Flexural strength on 0/45 specimens

This test was proceeded by varying the distance (pitch) between two holes from 9 to 18 mm (ten specimens) in steps. The results of the average tensile strength are shown in Table 5. From the tensile test, it was observed that 1. Referring to Table 5, the 00 laminate specimens have high tensile strength compared to that of others. 2. Referring to Table 5, the tensile strength of the specimens with centrally drilled hole was found to be one third of that of the non-drilled specimens. 3. Referring to Table 5, the tensile strength of the fineblanked specimens was about 20% more than that of drilled ones. 4. Referring to Fig. 7(a, b), the tensile strength of both the drilled and fine-blanked specimens having two holes (between the pitch ranges from 12 to 15 mm) was higher than that of the other specimens having the pitch value less than 12 mm and more than 15 mm. Typical tensile strength plot of the specimens with two holes by both drilling and fine blanking processes are illustrated in Fig. 7(a, b). Referring to these figures, it can be seen that with increasing the pitch distance, very small improvement in tensile strength was obtained. From this, it can be observed that with increasing bridge gap, the defects normally present over the drilled hole in the fiberVariation of flexural modulus with number of cycles on (0/0) specimens

reinforced plastic composite could not influence much in the loaddeflection curve. This can be attributed to the availability of more fibers, which can arrest or annihilate the defect from propagating to the rest of the material. During tensile loading, both the polymer and glass fiber undergo strain-induced changes (strain toughening) depending upon the response of loaddeflection curve obtained. With the smaller bridge distance, it is likely that the defects coalescence, varying with reduced in strength, with increasing bridge distance, it is possible that the fiber can strain, resulting in strain toughening observed rise in strength. However, beyond a certain distance, the effect is minimized and resulting in the observed reduction in strength. It is seen that orientation of the reinforcing fibers plays a significant role on the tensile properties, while 0/0 orientation has yielded the best results and 0/45 orientation performed poorly. It is possible that with 45 orientation, the composite is not able to counter the resultant shear force occurring in the neck region during tensile loading. 3.2 Flexural characteristics evaluation Apart from tensile loading, GFRP composites with a single hole by both drilling and fine blanking were exposed to
Variation of flexural modulus with number of cycles on (0/45) specimens

12 Flexural Modulus (KN/mm2) 10 8 6 4


Flexural Modulus (KN/mm2)
Without hole With hole (Drilling) With hole (Fine blanking)

5
Without hole With hole (Drilling) With hole (Fine blanking)

18000

36000 54000 No. of cycles

72000

18000

36000 54000 No. of cycles

72000

Fig. 9 Flexural modulus on 0/0 specimens

Fig. 11 Flexural modulus on 0/45 specimens

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Variation of flexural strength with number of cycles on (0/90) specimens
325
Without hole With hole (Drilling) With hole (Fine blanking)

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Variation of flexural strength with number of cycles on (0/45/90) specimens
300
Without hole

Flexural Strength (N/mm2)

Flexural Strength (N/mm2)

250 200 150 100

With hole (Drilling) With hole (Fine blanking)

275

225

175 0 18000 36000 54000 72000

18000

36000

54000

72000

No. of cycles

No. of cycles

Fig. 12 Flexural strength on 0/90 specimens

Fig. 14 Flexural strength on 0/45/90 specimens

flexural fatigue loading. While loading, the specimen was held as a cantilever. After exposure to certain duration, the specimen was exposed to flexural bend test. In general, it is seen that without any exposure to fatigue loading, all the specimens exhibit some flexural strength. Fatigue loading has enhanced the flexural strength of polymeric composites up to certain number of cycles. Beyond a specific number of cycles of loading, due to accumulation of damage within the composites, the flexural strength reduces. All types of fine-blanked specimens give slightly high flexural strength compared to the drilled ones. Data on flexural strength and flexural modulus were acquired for different conditions, and the same are presented from Figs. 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15. The polymeric composites subjected to low frequency fatigue loading exhibited a small rise/marginal change/reduction in normalized stiffness, depending upon the frequency or magnitude of loading. Further, it is interesting to note that during fatigue loading, for most of the cases, a transition in the response occurs during 2.7104 to 4.05104 cycles of loading. This can be termed as a critical duration of exposure to fatigue for the type of composite tested, about

which the structural response to fatigue loading changes depends upon the loading environment. Typical observed flexural strength and flexural modulus of GFRP composites, with 0/0 orientation of fibers, is illustrated in Figs. 8 and 9. It is seen that up to 2.7104 cycles, there is a progressive rise in flexural modulus; beyond which, it reduces slightly. The increase in flexural bending characteristics can be attributed to relatively higher order strength-induced stiffening of the interface (fiber matrix) with 0/0 orientation. Unlike the case of 0/0 orientation, GFRP with 0/90 orientation of reinforcement represented in Figs. 12 and 13 has exhibited almost identical values of flexural strength for all without hole, drilled, and fine-blanked specimens; however, with duration of exposure, there is a rise in flexural strength up to certain period; beyond which, a drop can be seen. Typical observed flexural characteristic of GFRP composites with 0/45 orientation of reinforced fibers is illustrated in Figs. 10 and 11. It is seen that there is an overall reduction in flexural strength compared to that of

Variation of flexural modulus with number of cycles on (0/90) specimens


10 9 8 7 6 5 0 18000 36000 54000 72000
Without hole With hole (Drilling) With hole (Fine blanking)

Variation of flexural modulus with number of cycles on (0/45/90) specimens


10

Flexural Modulus (KN/mm2)

Flexural Modulus (KN/mm2)

Without hole

8 6 4 2 0

With hole (Drilling) With hole (Fine blanking)

18000

36000

54000

72000

No. of cycles

No. of cycles

Fig. 13 Flexural modulus on 0/90 specimens

Fig. 15 Flexural modulus on 0/45/90 specimens

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other orientations. Similarly, the typical observed flexural strength of GFRP samples with 0/45/90 orientation is illustrated in Figs. 14 and 15. It is seen that 0/45/90 orientation exhibits a better flexural response compare to that of 0/45 orientation. This change in flexural response was associated with a change in the stiffness, indicating thereby the onset of fatigue degradation.

blanking may be due to the location of the hole (nearness to the clamping end).

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1. Hayman B, Berggreen C, Shenoi A, Tsouvalis N, Wright P (2007) Production processes, production defects and production process modelling for FRP single skin and sandwich structures. MARSTRUCT Network of Excellence Report No. MAR-W4-3-DNV04(5) 2. Chiem CY, Liu ZG (1988) The relationship between tensile strength and shear strength in composite materials subjected to high strain rates. J Eng Mater Technol 110:191194 3. Liu D (1998) Impact induced delaminationa view of bending stiffness mismatch. J Compos Mater 22:674692. doi:10.1177/ 002199838802200706 4. O'Brien TK (1980) Stiffness change as a nondestructive damage measurement in mechanics of nondestructive testing. W W Stinchcomb, Plenum Press, New York 5. Chandrasekharan V, Kapoor SG, Devor RE (1995) A mechanistic approach to predicting the cutting force in drilling with application to fibre-reinforced composite materials. Trans ASME J Eng Ind 117:559. doi:10.1115/1.2803534 6. Ho-Cheng H, Dharan CKH (1990) Delamination during drilling in composite laminates. J Eng Ind ASME 112:236239 7. Komanduri R (1993) Machining fibre-reinforced composites. J Mech Eng 115:5864 8. Baskaran G, Gowri G, Krishnamurthy R (2009) Effect of fine blanking on hole quality in glass fibre reinforced plastic composites. Int J Manuf Sci Prod 1:3341 9. Fadragas CR, Rodriguezy M, Bonalz R (2003) Modeling the propagation of an ultrasonic ray through a heterogeneous medium. NDT net 8(11):16 10. Wrobel G, Wierzbicki L, Pawlak S (2007) A method for ultrasonic quality evaluation of glass/polyester composite. Arch Mater Sci Eng 28(12):729 11. Rema Thomas Krishnamurthy R (1996) Design considerations for aerospace wind tunnel models. National Conference on Aerospace Testing, India

4 Conclusions From the observations, the following conclusions are drawn: & Nearly 20% higher tensile strength was observed on the specimens with fine-blanked hole than that of drilled ones. Possibility of defect annihilation can be the reason for the observed marginal changes in the tensile property with varying pitch distance in both drilled and fine-blanked specimens. Unlike the case of metallic materials, with flexural bending (within limits), the stiffness of polymeric composite increases with applied load. This is reflected in the rise in flexural strength on exposure to flexural loading. Exposure to low frequency and high amplitude fatigue load has resulted in a marginal rise in flexural strength and modulus, depending upon the frequency and magnitude of loading. The observed change in the flexural response around the critical duration of time was associated with a change in the stiffness, indicating thereby the onset of fatigue degradation. The GFRP composite specimens with hole produced and found to have reduction in flexural resistance. The observed marginal difference in the flexural properties of specimens with a hole by conventional drilling and fine

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