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Lecture 3: Lamina theory

Martin Fagerstr¨om


Division of Material and Computational Mechanics, Department of Applied Mechanics
Chalmers University of Technology, G¨oteborg, Sweden
e-mail: martin.fagerstrom@chalmers.se
1 Volume and weight fraction
A very important factor determining the properties of a composite is the relative portions of matrix
and fibre material. This can be characterised in (at least) two different ways: by weight fractions,
W
i
or volume fractions V
i
where i stands for either the matrix (m) or the fibre (f) material. The
weight fractions are easier to determine from the manufacturing or by subsequent experiments (due to
mass conservation), whereas the volume fractions is used exclusively in the theoretical analysis of the
properties of the composite material.
1.1 Weight fraction
If the total weight of the composite material is denoted w
c
and the total weights of the matrix and fibre
material are denoted w
m
and w
f
respectively, we have that
w
c
= w
m
+w
f
(1)
and the weight fractions of matrix material (W
m
) and fibre material (W
f
) can be defined as:
W
m
=
w
m
w
c
, W
f
=
w
f
w
c
(2)
1.2 Volume fractions
If the total volumes of the matrix and fibre material are denoted v
m
and v
f
respectively, and if one in the
initial stage neglects the existence of pores in the composite material, the total volume of the composite
material may be expressed as
v
c
= v
m
+v
f
. (3)
Consequently, the volume fractions of matrix material (v
m
) and fibre material (v
f
) can be defined as:
V
m
=
v
m
v
c
, V
f
=
v
f
v
c
(4)
But since the weight fractions are easier to determine from experiments, relations between these
weight fractions and the volume fractions are of importance. Introducing ρ
c
, ρ
m
and ρ
f
for the density
of the composite material, the matrix material and the fibre material, the relation between the volume
and weight fractions are obtained as
W
f
=
w
f
w
c
=
ρ
f
v
f
ρ
c
v
c
=
ρ
f
ρ
c
V
f
(5)
W
m
=
ρ
m
ρ
c
V
m
(6)
Remains then to determine the density of the composite material (neglecting the existence of pores).
To do this, we first note that the total volume of the composite may be written as
v
c
=
w
c
ρ
c
=
w
m
ρ
m
+
w
f
ρ
f
=
w
f
ρ
m

f
w
m
ρ
f
ρ
m
. (7)
1
From this expression, we can obtain ρ
c
as
ρ
c
=
w
c
ρ
m
ρ
f
w
f
ρ
m

f
w
m
=
1
w
f
w
c
ρ
f
+
w
m
w
c
ρ
m
=
1
(W
f

f
) + (W
m

m
)
. (8)
It should be remarked that in the presence of voids, the actual composite density is somewhat lower.
In general, this discrepancy might be rather small (less than 1% for a good composite) but a difference of
up to 5% can be expected for a poorly produced composite. However, the actual effect of a higher amount
of voids may have significant influence on some of the properties such as a lowered fatigue resistance and
strength.
2 Analytical and semi-empirical methods for predicting lamina
properties of unidirectional composites
The properties of a composite material depend on the properties of its constituents, their concentrations,
distributions and orientations as well as their physical and chemical interaction. The most direct method
to determine the properties of a composite material is by experimental methods. In many cases,
rather simple methods can be used to determine e.g. longitudinal stiffness and strength of a lamina.
However, the experimental results obtained are only valid for that particular fibre matrix system in terms
of volume fractions, constituent properties and production method. If any one of these are changed, new
experiments need to be performed in order to establish the properties of the new system. Such extensive
testing might be very time consuming and costly, whereby analytical or semi-empirical models can be a
very valuable tool to predict some of the properties. Some of the available models, to obtain homogenised
properties of the composite, will be discussed below in this section.
2.1 Longitudinal properties
2.1.1 Stiffness
To predict the longitudinal stiffness of a unidirectional composite lamina, the fibres are assumed as
uniform in properties and size and parallel throughout the composite, cf. Figure 1. Furthermore, pre-
fect bonding between the matrix and the fibres is assumed. This implies that the longitudinal strains
experienced by the fibres ε
fL
, the matrix ε
mL
and the composite ε
cL
are the same:
Figure 1: Model for predicting longitudinal behaviour of unidirectional composite (from Agarwal et al,
Figure 3-3).
ε
fL
= ε
mL
= ε
cL
(9)
This is in general homogenisation theory denoted the Voight assumptions which serves as an upper limit
of the possible stiffness of a composite in any direction, given a certain fibre volume fraction.
2
Based on the assumptions above, the longitudinal load P
c
carried by the composite will be shared
between the fibres P
f
and the matrix P
m
so that
P
c
= σ
c
A
c
= P
f
+P
m
= σ
f
A
f

m
A
m
(10)
where σ
c
, σ
f
and σ
m
are the stresses experienced by the composite, the fibres and the matrix respectively
and where A
c
, A
f
and A
m
are the corresponding total cross sectional areas. From Eq. (10), we can
get the expression for the composite stress σ
c
which by using the fact that the area fractions equals the
volume fractions of a unidirectional composite takes the form
σ
c
= σ
f
A
f
A
c

m
A
m
A
c
= σ
f
V
f

m
V
m
. (11)
If we now assume that both the fibres and the matrix behaves linear elastic (σ = Eε) we obtain the
expression of the longitudinal elastic stiffness (modulus) of the composite as
E
L
= E
f
V
f
+E
m
V
m
(12)
which generally is denoted the rule of mixtures. For a composite of n constituents, the expression for the
longitudinal stiffness can be generalised as
E
L
=
n

i=1
E
i
V
i
. (13)
It should be remarked that Eqs. (12),(13) are only valid as long as both the matrix and the fibre
material behaves linear elastic. This may however constitute only a small portion of the stress-strain
behaviour and generally, the longitudinal deformation of a unidirectional composite proceed in four
stages:
1. The matrix and the fibres both deform linear elastically
2. The fibres still deform linear elastically whereas the matrix deforms nonlinearly elastic or even
plastically
3. The fibres and the matrix both deform in a nonlinear fashion
4. The fibres break followed by composite failure
Whereas stage 3 can be observed only for ductile fibres, stage 2 may occupy the largest portion of
the composite stress-strain curve (which is no longer linear) and the longitudinal composite stiffness
(modulus) must be predicted at each composite strain level ε
c
as
E
L
= E
f
V
f
+
_
∂σ
m
∂ε
m
_
ε
c
V
m
(14)
where
_
∂σ
m
∂ε
m
_
ε
c
is the slope of the matrix stress-strain curve at strain ε
c
. However, in practice, the
non-linearity of the stress-strain curve for the matrix material has low effect on the composite stiffness,
especially at significant fibre fraction. Thus, in many cases Eq. (12) is a good approximation.
It should be remarked that the rule of mixtures is accurate for longitudinal tensile stiffness. But
when loaded in compression, the response of the composite observe din experiments may
deviate from the analytical predictions (ROM). This because the combined compressive properties
is strongly dependent on the matrix material properties, such as its shear stiffness (cf. buckling), whereas
the tensile response is much more governed by the fibre properties.
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Figure 2: Graph showing the percentage of the total force carried by the fibres in a unidirectional
composite as function of fibre volume fraction (from Agarwal et al, Figure 3-5).
2.1.2 Tensile strength
Failure initiates when the fibres are subjected to their fracture strain, assuming that the fibre failure strain
ε

f
is less than the matrix failure strain which is generally the case. In most practicable applications with
a sufficiently high volume fraction of fibres, the failure stress of the composite σ
cu
(cu for composite
ultimate) can be expressed by the rule of mixtures as:
σ
cu
A = σ
fu
A
f
+ (σ
m
)
ε

f
A
m

σ
cu
= σ
fu
A
f
A
+ (σ
m
)
ε

f
A
m
A

_
A
f
A
= V
f
,
A
m
A
= V
m
_

σ
cu
= σ
fu
V
f
+ (σ
m
)
ε

f
V
m
=
_
matrix linear elastic up to ε

f
_
= σ
fu
_
V
f
+
E
m
E
f
V
m
_
(15)
where σ
fu
is the fibre fracture stress (or ultimate strength of the fibres) and (σ
m
)
ε

f
is the stress in a
matrix subjected to the strain at which the fibres fail (ε

f
), cf Figure 3.
Figure 3: Graph showing the composite longitudinal failure stress σ
cu
as function of fibre volume fraction
(from Agarwal et al, Figure 3-7).
It can be seen that Eq. (15) predicts a lower composite strength for the composite compared to the
unreinforced matrix material for a certain level of fibre volume fraction (below V
crit
). V
crit
is defined as
4
when the failure strength of the composite equals the failure strength of the unreinforced matrix material,
i.e.
σ
fu
V
crit
+ (σ
m
)
ε

f
(1 −V
crit
)
. ¸¸ .
’V
m

⇒V
crit
=
σ
mu
−(σ
m
)
ε

f
σ
fu
−(σ
m
)
ε

f
. (16)
However, for most practical applications (V
crit
) is ’really small’. Consider e.g. the common composite
material consisting of carbon fibres and epoxy matrix (or resin) material, we can from mean values of
the respective strength for carbon fibres (cf. table 1-1) σ
fu
≈ 2.3 GPa and epoxy (cf. table 2-11)
σ
mu
≈ 92.5 MPa and assuming that the epoxy is linear elastic up to the failure strain of the fibres
ε

f
= 2.3 · 10
9
/315 · 10
9
= 0.0073 →(σ
m
)
ε

f
= 3.425 · 10
9
. ¸¸ .
E
epoxy
·0.0073 = 25 MPa obtain V
crit
as:
V
crit
=
92.5 · 10
6
−25 · 10
6
2.3 · 10
9
−25 · 10
6
≈ 0.03 (17)
That is, the critical volume fraction of fibres V
crit
is about 3% which is considerably lower than in any
practical applications ( 50-60%).
2.1.3 Compressive strength
It is unlikely that the fibres would break due to compressive stresses. But when being subjected to
compressive loads the fibres acts as long columns and so-called micro-buckling can occur. Of course, the
buckling load of a fibre embedded into a matrix is significantly larger than for a free fibre. But still, fibre
buckling can occur even when the corresponding matrix stresses are in the elastic range. However, for
practical fibre volume fractions (V
f
> 0.4), fibre buckling of often preceded by other failure phenomena
to be discussed further in the lectures covering failure.
2.2 Factors influencing longitudinal stiffness and strength
There are a number of factors that may influence the longitudinal stiffness and strength of a composite
leading, in some cases, to significant deviations from the predictions discussed above.
• Misorientation of fibres
Fibre orientation directly influences the properties of the composite. Naturally, the contributions
from the fibres is maximised only when the fibres are aligned with the loading direction. As a
consequence, the stiffness and strength will be reduced when the fibres are not parallel to the
loading direction. However, the discrepancy is small and no corrections have to be made if the
misalignment is small, i.e. limited to a few degrees. It should be remarked that in the general
case, a composite material is often composed of a number of unidirectional lamina with different
orientations stacked on top of each other. For that type of composite materials, there are several
appropriate theories (co-called laminate theories) available to described the structural response, cf.
Lecture L4 and Chapters 6-8 in the course book.
• Fibres of nonuniform strength
First of all it should be remarked that any reduction of the fibre strength directly results in a
lowered strength of the composite material. Consequently, a composite of high strength is obtained
when the fibres are uniform in strength. Reasons for a non-uniform distribution may be due to at
least the following two reasons:
1. A variation of cross section as function of length
2. As a result of initial damage due to handling of the fibres before manufacturing the composite
In addition, the fibre strength decrease as the fibre length increases. This is due to the fact that
statistically, the existence of any strength reducing factor increases with length and the fibre will
always first break at its weakest link. In any case, it should be remarked that fibres start to break
5
at loads lower than the composite strength and that this accumulates up to final failure. Thus, for
detailed predictions of the composite strength, statistical methods need to be incorporated which
however is considered as out of scope in the current course.
• Discontinuous fibres
When the length of the fibre is in the same order of size as the length over which the load is
transmitted through the matrix material, we speak of discontinuous fibre reinforcements. In these
materials, the end effects (variation of stress along the fibre and stress concentrations) cannot be
neglected and must be dealt with. This is however not included in the current course. Interested
students are referred to Chapter 4 in the course book for reference.
• Interfacial conditions
– More pronounced importance for discontinuous-reinforced-fibre composites.
– Influences the transversal strength.
– Good adhesion between fibre and matrix enhances water resistance.
– A lower interface strength may lead to a higher composite ductility and, hence, a high fracture
toughness.
• Residual stresses
Originates predominantly from the manufacturing process due to
– A variation between thermal expansion coefficients for the fibre and the matrix material
– A significant difference in temperature at manufacturing and temperature at use, cf. also
Computer Assignment 1.
It should be remarked that the existence of residual stresses significantly impact the response and the
properties (strength) for he composite material and should be included in an advanced assessment
analysis of a composite. How this is to be incorporated practically is not always straightforward,
but this should definitively be kept in mind! The residual stresses in composites is much more
importance for the component performance than say in the case of traditional metal components
in which the residual stress often decrease with time due to local (and often ’harmless’) plastic
deformations.
2.3 Transverse properties
2.3.1 Transverse stiffness prediction based on the constant stress assumption - Reuss as-
sumption
Consider a lamina of unidirectional (UD) continuous fibre reinforcements loaded by a transversal tensile
stress σ
c
. For this purpose, study a Representative Volume Element (RVE) as a generic block consisting
of fibre material bonded to matrix material, as shown in Figure 4.
In this case, the elongation of the composite in the loading direction δ
c
is obtained by the sum of the
elongation in the matrix material and in the fibre material according to
δ
c
= ε
cT
L
2
= ε
fT
L
f

mT
L
m
(18)
where ε
cT
, ε
fT
and ε
mT
are the transversal strains in the composite RVE, the fibre materials and the
matrix material respectively. Furthermore, since the RVE do not change along the longitudinal direction,
the length fractions must equal the volume fractions such that
ε
cT
= ε
fT
V
f

mT
V
m
. (19)
By introducing Hooke’s law, (and neglecting any poisson strains) this can be written as
σ
c
E
T
=
σ
f
E
f
V
f
+
σ
m
E
m
V
m
. (20)
6
Figure 4: Model for predicting transverse stiffness of unidirectional composite (from Gibson, Principles
of Composite Material Mechanics 2nd ed., 2007).
If we now finally assume that the stress in each of the constituents (fibre and matrix) is the same (the
so-called Reuss assumption), i.e. we have that
σ
c
= σ
f
= σ
m
(21)
we end up with the ’inverse rule of mixtures’ for the transverse modulus as
1
E
T
=
V
f
E
f
+
V
m
E
m
(22)
It should be remarked that by assuming equal stress in both fibres and matrix, the resulting expression
for the (transverse) stiffness can be shown to be the lower bound given a certain fibre volume fraction,
cf. also Figure 5.
inverse rule of mixtures
Figure 5: Longitudinal and transverse stiffness as function of fibre volume fraction (from Agarwal et al,
Figure 3-9a). Please note that the rule of mixtures (Voight assumption) serves as an upper limit of the
composite stiffness whereas the inverse rule of mixtures (Reuss assumption) serves as the lower bound
2.3.2 Halpin-Tsai semi-empirical model for transverse stiffness prediction
The inverse rule of mixtures might produce poor predictions since in reality the stresses are not equal in
the matrix and fibre material.
The improve the predictions, Halpin and Tsai developed simple and generalised equations to fit more
advanced micromechanical models for transverse stiffness. The Halpin-Tsai equation for the transverse
composite stiffness (modulus) can be written as
E
T
E
m
=
1 +ξηV
f
1 −ηV
f
, η =
(E
f
/E
m
) −1
(E
f
/E
m
) +ξ
(23)
7
in which ξ is a measure of the reinforcements and relates to the fibre geometry (curve fitting parameter).
Halpin and Tsai have proposed ξ = 2 for circular or quadratic cross sections and ξ = 2
a
b
for
rectangular cross sections in which a and b are side lengths of the cross section.
This has proven to be adequate in many practical situations, cf. Figure 6 for a comparison made
against experimental data for boron-epoxy lamina reported by Whitney and Riley (J. IAAA, 4:1537,
1966), and it generally gives a better prediction than the prediction obtained based on the equivalence
of stress in the fibre and the matrix material (the inverse rule of mixtures).
inverse rule of mixtures
Figure 6: Transverse stiffness predicted by the inverse rule of mixtures and the Halpin-Tsai equation
compared with experimental data reported by Whitney and Riley for boron-epoxy (from Agarwal et al.,
figure 3-9b).
2.3.3 Transverse strength
The transverse strength of a composite is reduced by the existence of fibres. The reason is that due to
their geometry, the fibres cannot carry a large portion of the load which instead is distributed between
the fibre and the matrix material. Instead, the existence of fibres place restrictions on the transverse
deformations, causing strain and stress concentrations in their vicinity, cf. Figure 7 which results in an
overall decreased strength in comparison to the unreinforced matrix material.
Figure 7: Stress distribution in matrix surrounding a single cylindrical inclusion E
F
/E
m
= 10, ν
m
=
0.35, ν
f
= 0.3 (from Agarwal et al., figure 3-12a).
Thus, the composite transverse failure strength σ
TU
can be expressed as
σ
TU
=
σ
mu
S
(24)
8
in which S is a strength reduction factor. This reduction factor can be predicted by several methods.
The strength-of-materials method
Based on the strength-of-materials method, the factor S is assumed to be equal to the stress concen-
tration factor SCF which has the expression (neglecting the Poisson effects) :
SCF =
1 −V
f
(1 −(E
m
/E
f
))
1 −(4V
f
/π)
1/2
(1 −(E
m
/E
f
))
. (25)
Based on Finite Element Analysis
Another alternative is to analyse the stress distribution in a UD lamina by FEM, cf. the results in
shown in Figure 7 obtained by e.g. Chen and Lin (Mater. Res. Stand. MTRSA, 9:29-33, 1969).
Figure 8: Principal stress in matrix surrounding multiple fibres obtained by FEM by Chen and Lin
ν
m
= 0.35, ν
f
= 0.2 (from Agarwal et al., figure 3-12b).
2.4 Shear modulus
Study subsection 3.4 in the course book on your own.
2.4.1 Major results
Inverse rule of mixtures:
G
LT
=
1
V
f
/G
f
+V
m
/G
m
(26)
Halpin-Tsai:
G
L
T
G
m
=
1 +ξηV
f
1 −ηV
f
, η =
(G
f
/G
m
) −1
(G
f
/G
m
) +ξ
, ξ = 1 (27)
2.5 Poisson’s ratio
Study subsection 3.5 in the course book on your own.
2.5.1 Major results
Major Poisson’s ratio ν
LT
Major Poisson’s ratio ν
LT
relating the longitudinal stress to the transverse strain:
ν
LT
= ν
f
V
f

m
V
m
(28)
9
Minor Poisson’s ratio ν
TL
Minor Poisson’s ratio ν
TL
relating the transverse stress to the longitudinal strain:
ν
LT
E
L
=
ν
TL
E
T
⇒ν
TL
= ν
LT
E
T
E
L
(29)
3 Expansion coefficients
Study 3.7.1 and 3.7.2 in the course book on your own.
For the thermal case, the underlying assumptions (not explained in the text) in the derivations are:
• The fibres are isotropic
• The matrix is isotropic
• The strains in the longitudinal direction are the same in the matrix and in the fibres (Voight
assumption)
• The stresses in the transverse direction are constant, i.e. the Reuss assumption is used
• The macroscopic stresses in the lamina are zero, i.e. σ
L
= 0 and σ
T
= 0 is used.
Major results
Thermal expansion coefficients (from Scharpery,J. Compos Mater., 2:280-404, 1968):
α
L
=
1
E
L

f
E
f
V
f

m
E
m
V
m
) (30)
α
T
= (1 +ν
f
) α
f
V
f
+ (1 +ν
m
) α
m
V
m
−α
L
ν
LT
(31)
Moisture expansion coefficients:
β
L
≈ 0 (due to that the fibres are significantly stiffer than the moisture absorbing matrix) (32)
β
T
=
ρ
c
ρ
m
(1 +ν
m
) β
m
(cf. e.g. Tsai and Hahn, Introduction to Composite Materials, 1980) (33)
10

Such extensive testing might be very time consuming and costly. we can obtain ρc as ρc = wc ρm ρf = wf ρm + ρf wm wf wc ρf 1 + wm wc ρm = 1 . εf L = εmL = εcL (9) This is in general homogenisation theory denoted the Voight assumptions which serves as an upper limit of the possible stiffness of a composite in any direction. will be discussed below in this section. (Wf /ρf ) + (Wm /ρm ) (8) It should be remarked that in the presence of voids. Furthermore. 2 .1 2. 2 Analytical and semi-empirical methods for predicting lamina properties of unidirectional composites The properties of a composite material depend on the properties of its constituents. However. longitudinal stiffness and strength of a lamina. whereby analytical or semi-empirical models can be a very valuable tool to predict some of the properties. distributions and orientations as well as their physical and chemical interaction.g. new experiments need to be performed in order to establish the properties of the new system. The most direct method to determine the properties of a composite material is by experimental methods. the actual effect of a higher amount of voids may have significant influence on some of the properties such as a lowered fatigue resistance and strength. In general. Figure 3-3). In many cases. the matrix εmL and the composite εcL are the same: Figure 1: Model for predicting longitudinal behaviour of unidirectional composite (from Agarwal et al. to obtain homogenised properties of the composite. the fibres are assumed as uniform in properties and size and parallel throughout the composite. their concentrations.From this expression. If any one of these are changed. 2. rather simple methods can be used to determine e. However. the actual composite density is somewhat lower. Some of the available models. Figure 1. This implies that the longitudinal strains experienced by the fibres εf L . this discrepancy might be rather small (less than 1% for a good composite) but a difference of up to 5% can be expected for a poorly produced composite. constituent properties and production method. the experimental results obtained are only valid for that particular fibre matrix system in terms of volume fractions.1 Longitudinal properties Stiffness To predict the longitudinal stiffness of a unidirectional composite lamina. cf. given a certain fibre volume fraction. prefect bonding between the matrix and the fibres is assumed.1.

This may however constitute only a small portion of the stress-strain behaviour and generally. It should be remarked that the rule of mixtures is accurate for longitudinal tensile stiffness. ( 3 . (12) is a good approximation. the fibres and the matrix respectively and where Ac . the longitudinal deformation of a unidirectional composite proceed in four stages: 1. the expression for the longitudinal stiffness can be generalised as EL = n ∑ i=1 E i Vi . in many cases Eq. The fibres still deform linear elastically whereas the matrix deforms nonlinearly elastic or even plastically 3. such as its shear stiffness (cf. But when loaded in compression. The fibres and the matrix both deform in a nonlinear fashion 4. (12). Thus. in practice. The matrix and the fibres both deform linear elastically 2. (10). buckling). For a composite of n constituents. whereas the tensile response is much more governed by the fibre properties. (13) It should be remarked that Eqs. However. the where ∂εm εc non-linearity of the stress-strain curve for the matrix material has low effect on the composite stiffness. the longitudinal load Pc carried by the composite will be shared between the fibres Pf and the matrix Pm so that Pc = σc Ac = Pf + Pm = σf Af + σm Am (10) where σc . we can get the expression for the composite stress σc which by using the fact that the area fractions equals the volume fractions of a unidirectional composite takes the form σc = σf Af Am + σm = σf V f + σm V m . Af and Am are the corresponding total cross sectional areas. From Eq.Based on the assumptions above. Ac Ac (11) If we now assume that both the fibres and the matrix behaves linear elastic (σ = Eε) we obtain the expression of the longitudinal elastic stiffness (modulus) of the composite as EL = Ef Vf + Em Vm (12) which generally is denoted the rule of mixtures.(13) are only valid as long as both the matrix and the fibre material behaves linear elastic. The fibres break followed by composite failure Whereas stage 3 can be observed only for ductile fibres. stage 2 may occupy the largest portion of the composite stress-strain curve (which is no longer linear) and the longitudinal composite stiffness (modulus) must be predicted at each composite strain level εc as ( ) ∂σm EL = Ef Vf + Vm (14) ∂εm εc ) ∂σm is the slope of the matrix stress-strain curve at strain εc . This because the combined compressive properties is strongly dependent on the matrix material properties. especially at significant fibre fraction. the response of the composite observe din experiments may deviate from the analytical predictions (ROM). σf and σm are the stresses experienced by the composite.

f Figure 3: Graph showing the composite longitudinal failure stress σcu as function of fibre volume fraction (from Agarwal et al. = Vm ⇒ f A A A A ) ( { } Em σf u Vf + (σm )ε∗ Vm = matrix linear elastic up to ε∗ = σf u Vf + Vm f f Ef (15) where σf u is the fibre fracture stress (or ultimate strength of the fibres) and (σm )ε∗ is the stress in a f matrix subjected to the strain at which the fibres fail (ε∗ ). It can be seen that Eq. 2.1.Figure 2: Graph showing the percentage of the total force carried by the fibres in a unidirectional composite as function of fibre volume fraction (from Agarwal et al. In most practicable applications with f a sufficiently high volume fraction of fibres. Vcrit is defined as 4 . assuming that the fibre failure strain ε∗ is less than the matrix failure strain which is generally the case. (15) predicts a lower composite strength for the composite compared to the unreinforced matrix material for a certain level of fibre volume fraction (below Vcrit ).2 Tensile strength Failure initiates when the fibres are subjected to their fracture strain. the failure stress of the composite σcu (cu for composite ultimate) can be expressed by the rule of mixtures as: σf u Af + (σm )ε∗ Am ⇒ f σcu A = σcu σcu = = { } Af Am Af Am σf u + (σm )ε∗ ⇒ = Vf . Figure 3-5). cf Figure 3. Figure 3-7).

i. It should be remarked that in the general case. i. fibre buckling of often preceded by other failure phenomena to be discussed further in the lectures covering failure. σf u Vcrit + (σm )ε∗ (1 − Vcrit ) ⇒ Vcrit = f σmu − (σm )ε∗ f σf u − (σm )ε∗ f . the existence of any strength reducing factor increases with length and the fibre will always first break at its weakest link. Consequently. we can from mean values of the respective strength for carbon fibres (cf. • Misorientation of fibres Fibre orientation directly influences the properties of the composite. there are several appropriate theories (co-called laminate theories) available to described the structural response.5 · 106 − 25 · 106 ≈ 0. for most practical applications (Vcrit ) is ’really small’. for practical fibre volume fractions (Vf > 0. 2. But still. the fibre strength decrease as the fibre length increases. A variation of cross section as function of length 2.0073 = 25 MPa obtain Vcrit as: f f Eepoxy Vcrit = 92.g. in some cases. Lecture L4 and Chapters 6-8 in the course book.when the failure strength of the composite equals the failure strength of the unreinforced matrix material. • Fibres of nonuniform strength First of all it should be remarked that any reduction of the fibre strength directly results in a lowered strength of the composite material. the critical volume fraction of fibres Vcrit is about 3% which is considerably lower than in any practical applications ( 50-60%). In any case. 2. it should be remarked that fibres start to break 5 .3 GPa and epoxy (cf.e. a composite material is often composed of a number of unidirectional lamina with different orientations stacked on top of each other.3 Compressive strength It is unlikely that the fibres would break due to compressive stresses. table 1-1) σf u ≈ 2. Consider e. the buckling load of a fibre embedded into a matrix is significantly larger than for a free fibre. limited to a few degrees. the stiffness and strength will be reduced when the fibres are not parallel to the loading direction. to significant deviations from the predictions discussed above. Of course.0073 → (σm )ε∗ = 3. the contributions from the fibres is maximised only when the fibres are aligned with the loading direction.3 · 109 /315 · 109 = 0. cf.e. a composite of high strength is obtained when the fibres are uniform in strength. However. Naturally. As a consequence. table 2-11) σmu ≈ 92.5 MPa and assuming that the epoxy is linear elastic up to the failure strain of the fibres ε∗ = 2. the discrepancy is small and no corrections have to be made if the misalignment is small. For that type of composite materials.3 · 109 − 25 · 106 (17) That is.03 2. the common composite material consisting of carbon fibres and epoxy matrix (or resin) material. (16) ’V m ’ However. However.425 · 109 ·0.4). As a result of initial damage due to handling of the fibres before manufacturing the composite In addition. This is due to the fact that statistically. fibre buckling can occur even when the corresponding matrix stresses are in the elastic range. But when being subjected to compressive loads the fibres acts as long columns and so-called micro-buckling can occur. Reasons for a non-uniform distribution may be due to at least the following two reasons: 1.1.2 Factors influencing longitudinal stiffness and strength There are a number of factors that may influence the longitudinal stiffness and strength of a composite leading.

In this case. the end effects (variation of stress along the fibre and stress concentrations) cannot be neglected and must be dealt with. the length fractions must equal the volume fractions such that εcT = εf T Vf + εmT Vm . we speak of discontinuous fibre reinforcements. but this should definitively be kept in mind! The residual stresses in composites is much more importance for the component performance than say in the case of traditional metal components in which the residual stress often decrease with time due to local (and often ’harmless’) plastic deformations. ET Ef Em 6 (20) (19) . for detailed predictions of the composite strength. This is however not included in the current course. 2. hence. In these materials. Furthermore. • Residual stresses Originates predominantly from the manufacturing process due to – A variation between thermal expansion coefficients for the fibre and the matrix material – A significant difference in temperature at manufacturing and temperature at use. as shown in Figure 4. How this is to be incorporated practically is not always straightforward.3 2. also Computer Assignment 1. It should be remarked that the existence of residual stresses significantly impact the response and the properties (strength) for he composite material and should be included in an advanced assessment analysis of a composite. the elongation of the composite in the loading direction δc is obtained by the sum of the elongation in the matrix material and in the fibre material according to δc = εcT L2 = εf T Lf + εmT Lm (18) where εcT . cf. study a Representative Volume Element (RVE) as a generic block consisting of fibre material bonded to matrix material. – Influences the transversal strength. Interested students are referred to Chapter 4 in the course book for reference.3. By introducing Hooke’s law. a high fracture toughness. For this purpose. Thus. – A lower interface strength may lead to a higher composite ductility and.Reuss assumption Consider a lamina of unidirectional (UD) continuous fibre reinforcements loaded by a transversal tensile stress σc . • Interfacial conditions – More pronounced importance for discontinuous-reinforced-fibre composites. (and neglecting any poisson strains) this can be written as σf σm σc = Vf + Vm .1 Transverse properties Transverse stiffness prediction based on the constant stress assumption . εf T and εmT are the transversal strains in the composite RVE. – Good adhesion between fibre and matrix enhances water resistance. since the RVE do not change along the longitudinal direction. • Discontinuous fibres When the length of the fibre is in the same order of size as the length over which the load is transmitted through the matrix material. statistical methods need to be incorporated which however is considered as out of scope in the current course. the fibre materials and the matrix material respectively.at loads lower than the composite strength and that this accumulates up to final failure.

i. The improve the predictions. The Halpin-Tsai equation for the transverse composite stiffness (modulus) can be written as ET 1 + ξηVf (Ef /Em ) − 1 = ..2 Halpin-Tsai semi-empirical model for transverse stiffness prediction The inverse rule of mixtures might produce poor predictions since in reality the stresses are not equal in the matrix and fibre material. 2007). inverse rule of mixtures Figure 5: Longitudinal and transverse stiffness as function of fibre volume fraction (from Agarwal et al. If we now finally assume that the stress in each of the constituents (fibre and matrix) is the same (the so-called Reuss assumption). Please note that the rule of mixtures (Voight assumption) serves as an upper limit of the composite stiffness whereas the inverse rule of mixtures (Reuss assumption) serves as the lower bound 2. also Figure 5.e. we have that σ c = σf = σm we end up with the ’inverse rule of mixtures’ for the transverse modulus as 1 Vf Vm = + ET Ef Em (22) (21) It should be remarked that by assuming equal stress in both fibres and matrix. η= Em 1 − ηVf (Ef /Em ) + ξ 7 (23) . cf. the resulting expression for the (transverse) stiffness can be shown to be the lower bound given a certain fibre volume fraction. Figure 3-9a). Principles of Composite Material Mechanics 2nd ed.3.Figure 4: Model for predicting transverse stiffness of unidirectional composite (from Gibson. Halpin and Tsai developed simple and generalised equations to fit more advanced micromechanical models for transverse stiffness.

νm = 0. causing strain and stress concentrations in their vicinity. Thus. figure 3-12a). 2.35. and it generally gives a better prediction than the prediction obtained based on the equivalence of stress in the fibre and the matrix material (the inverse rule of mixtures)... inverse rule of mixtures Figure 6: Transverse stiffness predicted by the inverse rule of mixtures and the Halpin-Tsai equation compared with experimental data reported by Whitney and Riley for boron-epoxy (from Agarwal et al. Instead. the fibres cannot carry a large portion of the load which instead is distributed between the fibre and the matrix material. figure 3-9b). Figure 6 for a comparison made against experimental data for boron-epoxy lamina reported by Whitney and Riley (J. Halpin and Tsai have proposed ξ = 2 for circular or quadratic cross sections and ξ = 2 a for b rectangular cross sections in which a and b are side lengths of the cross section.3. 4:1537. IAAA. This has proven to be adequate in many practical situations. Figure 7 which results in an overall decreased strength in comparison to the unreinforced matrix material. the composite transverse failure strength σT U can be expressed as σT U = σmu S (24) 8 . cf.3 Transverse strength The transverse strength of a composite is reduced by the existence of fibres. νf = 0. 1966). The reason is that due to their geometry. cf. the existence of fibres place restrictions on the transverse deformations.in which ξ is a measure of the reinforcements and relates to the fibre geometry (curve fitting parameter). Figure 7: Stress distribution in matrix surrounding a single cylindrical inclusion EF /Em = 10.3 (from Agarwal et al.

the results in shown in Figure 7 obtained by e. 9:29-33.1 Major results GLT = Halpin-Tsai: 1 Vf /Gf + Vm /Gm (26) Inverse rule of mixtures: GL T 1 + ξηVf (Gf /Gm ) − 1 = . 2.5 in the course book on your own.2 (from Agarwal et al.5.5 Poisson’s ratio Study subsection 3.g. figure 3-12b). ξ=1 Gm 1 − ηVf (Gf /Gm ) + ξ (27) 2. 2. Res.4. Chen and Lin (Mater. cf.. 2. (25) Based on Finite Element Analysis Another alternative is to analyse the stress distribution in a UD lamina by FEM. The strength-of-materials method Based on the strength-of-materials method.4 in the course book on your own. Figure 8: Principal stress in matrix surrounding multiple fibres obtained by FEM by Chen and Lin νm = 0. This reduction factor can be predicted by several methods.1 Major results Major Poisson’s ratio νLT Major Poisson’s ratio νLT relating the longitudinal stress to the transverse strain: νLT = νf Vf + νm Vm (28) 9 . 1969). the factor S is assumed to be equal to the stress concentration factor SCF which has the expression (neglecting the Poisson effects) : SCF = 1 − Vf (1 − (Em /Ef )) 1 − (4Vf /π) 1/2 (1 − (Em /Ef )) . MTRSA. Stand. η= .in which S is a strength reduction factor.4 Shear modulus Study subsection 3. νf = 0.35.

.e.2 in the course book on your own.g.7. 1968): αL αT Moisture expansion coefficients: βL βT ≈ 0 (due to that the fibres are significantly stiffer than the moisture absorbing matrix) (32) ρc = (1 + νm ) βm (cf. the Reuss assumption is used • The macroscopic stresses in the lamina are zero.Minor Poisson’s ratio νT L Minor Poisson’s ratio νT L relating the transverse stress to the longitudinal strain: νLT νT L ET = ⇒ νT L = νLT EL ET EL (29) 3 Expansion coefficients Study 3. 2:280-404. i. Major results Thermal expansion coefficients (from Scharpery.1 and 3. σL = 0 and σT = 0 is used. Compos Mater.7.J. Introduction to Composite Materials. For the thermal case. Tsai and Hahn. 1980) (33) ρm 1 (αf Ef Vf + αm Em Vm ) EL = (1 + νf ) αf Vf + (1 + νm ) αm Vm − αL νLT = (30) (31) 10 . e. i. the underlying assumptions (not explained in the text) in the derivations are: • The fibres are isotropic • The matrix is isotropic • The strains in the longitudinal direction are the same in the matrix and in the fibres (Voight assumption) • The stresses in the transverse direction are constant.e.