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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

+ρ

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

+ρ

f

w

m

=

1

w

f

w

c

ρ

f

+

w

m

w

c

ρ

m

=

1

(W

f

/ρ

f

) + (W

m

/ρ

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

+σ

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

+σ

m

A

m

A

c

= σ

f

V

f

+σ

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.

3

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

+ε

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

+ε

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

+ν

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

(α

f

E

f

V

f

+α

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

(Wf /ρf ) + (Wm /ρm ) (8) It should be remarked that in the presence of voids. constituent properties and production method. 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. new experiments need to be performed in order to establish the properties of the new system. whereby analytical or semi-empirical models can be a very valuable tool to predict some of the properties. the actual composite density is somewhat lower. their concentrations.g. 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. we can obtain ρc as ρc = wc ρm ρf = wf ρm + ρf wm wf wc ρf 1 + wm wc ρm = 1 .1 2.1. cf. This implies that the longitudinal strains experienced by the ﬁbres εf L . 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. However. prefect bonding between the matrix and the ﬁbres is assumed. Figure 3-3).From this expression. In many cases. longitudinal stiﬀness and strength of a lamina. the matrix εmL and the composite εcL are the same: Figure 1: Model for predicting longitudinal behaviour of unidirectional composite (from Agarwal et al. 2. The most direct method to determine the properties of a composite material is by experimental methods.1 Longitudinal properties Stiﬀness To predict the longitudinal stiﬀness of a unidirectional composite lamina. the experimental results obtained are only valid for that particular ﬁbre matrix system in terms of volume fractions. Such extensive testing might be very time consuming and costly. In general. rather simple methods can be used to determine e. If any one of these are changed. Figure 1. will be discussed below in this section. given a certain ﬁbre volume fraction. Furthermore. 2 . to obtain homogenised properties of the composite. distributions and orientations as well as their physical and chemical interaction. Some of the available models. the ﬁbres are assumed as uniform in properties and size and parallel throughout the composite. However. 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.

whereas the tensile response is much more governed by the ﬁbre properties. This may however constitute only a small portion of the stress-strain behaviour and generally. σf and σm are the stresses experienced by the composite. Af and Am are the corresponding total cross sectional areas. Thus. especially at signiﬁcant ﬁbre fraction.Based on the assumptions above. such as its shear stiﬀness (cf. the longitudinal deformation of a unidirectional composite proceed in four stages: 1. 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 . (13) It should be remarked that Eqs. 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 . The ﬁbres and the matrix both deform in a nonlinear fashion 4. 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 . the expression for the longitudinal stiﬀness can be generalised as EL = n ∑ i=1 E i Vi . (10). (12) is a good approximation. 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. buckling). ( 3 . But when loaded in compression. (12). For a composite of n constituents. The matrix and the ﬁbres both deform linear elastically 2.(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. the where ∂εm εc non-linearity of the stress-strain curve for the matrix material has low eﬀect on the composite stiﬀness. The ﬁbres still deform linear elastically whereas the matrix deforms nonlinearly elastic or even plastically 3. in many cases Eq. the ﬁbres and the matrix respectively and where Ac . the response of the composite observe din experiments may deviate from the analytical predictions (ROM). However. in practice. This because the combined compressive properties is strongly dependent on the matrix material properties. It should be remarked that the rule of mixtures is accurate for longitudinal tensile stiﬀness. From Eq.

Figure 3-5). It can be seen that Eq.2 Tensile strength Failure initiates when the ﬁbres are subjected to their fracture strain. assuming that the ﬁbre failure strain ε∗ is less than the matrix failure strain which is generally the case. Vcrit is deﬁned as 4 . 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 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. cf Figure 3. In most practicable applications with f a suﬃciently high volume fraction of ﬁbres. (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 ). Figure 3-7).1. 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∗ ). 2.

But still. However. For that type of composite materials. • 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.5 MPa and assuming that the epoxy is linear elastic up to the failure strain of the ﬁbres ε∗ = 2. for practical ﬁbre volume fractions (Vf > 0. Naturally. table 1-1) σf u ≈ 2. it should be remarked that ﬁbres start to break 5 . the critical volume fraction of ﬁbres Vcrit is about 3% which is considerably lower than in any practical applications ( 50-60%). 2. i.3 · 109 − 25 · 106 (17) That is.e.03 2. the discrepancy is small and no corrections have to be made if the misalignment is small. table 2-11) σmu ≈ 92. for most practical applications (Vcrit ) is ’really small’. However. 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.1. the contributions from the ﬁbres is maximised only when the ﬁbres are aligned with the loading direction. 2. the existence of any strength reducing factor increases with length and the ﬁbre will always ﬁrst break at its weakest link. a composite of high strength is obtained when the ﬁbres are uniform in strength. limited to a few degrees. This is due to the fact that statistically.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. ﬁbre buckling of often preceded by other failure phenomena to be discussed further in the lectures covering failure. the buckling load of a ﬁbre embedded into a matrix is signiﬁcantly larger than for a free ﬁbre. σf u Vcrit + (σm )ε∗ (1 − Vcrit ) ⇒ Vcrit = f σmu − (σm )ε∗ f σf u − (σm )ε∗ f . Of course.3 Compressive strength It is unlikely that the ﬁbres would break due to compressive stresses. As a consequence.5 · 106 − 25 · 106 ≈ 0.0073 → (σm )ε∗ = 3. i. 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. A variation of cross section as function of length 2. In any case.g.when the failure strength of the composite equals the failure strength of the unreinforced matrix material. As a result of initial damage due to handling of the ﬁbres before manufacturing the composite In addition.425 · 109 ·0. to signiﬁcant deviations from the predictions discussed above. (16) ’V m ’ However. Consequently. the stiﬀness and strength will be reduced when the ﬁbres are not parallel to the loading direction. the ﬁbre strength decrease as the ﬁbre length increases. in some cases. • Misorientation of ﬁbres Fibre orientation directly inﬂuences the properties of the composite. Reasons for a non-uniform distribution may be due to at least the following two reasons: 1. cf.e.3 · 109 /315 · 109 = 0.3 GPa and epoxy (cf. Consider e. there are several appropriate theories (co-called laminate theories) available to described the structural response. a composite material is often composed of a number of unidirectional lamina with diﬀerent orientations stacked on top of each other.0073 = 25 MPa obtain Vcrit as: f f Eepoxy Vcrit = 92.4). It should be remarked that in the general case. Lecture L4 and Chapters 6-8 in the course book.

3 2. This is however not included in the current course. – Good adhesion between ﬁbre and matrix enhances water resistance. we speak of discontinuous ﬁbre reinforcements. Interested students are referred to Chapter 4 in the course book for reference. since the RVE do not change along the longitudinal direction. ET Ef Em 6 (20) (19) . Thus. a high fracture toughness. – A lower interface strength may lead to a higher composite ductility and. the length fractions must equal the volume fractions such that εcT = εf T Vf + εmT Vm . 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. • 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. 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.Reuss assumption Consider a lamina of unidirectional (UD) continuous ﬁbre reinforcements loaded by a transversal tensile stress σc . For this purpose.1 Transverse properties Transverse stiﬀness prediction based on the constant stress assumption . • Interfacial conditions – More pronounced importance for discontinuous-reinforced-ﬁbre composites. as shown in Figure 4. study a Representative Volume Element (RVE) as a generic block consisting of ﬁbre material bonded to matrix material.at loads lower than the composite strength and that this accumulates up to ﬁnal failure. Furthermore. How this is to be incorporated practically is not always straightforward. 2. hence. – Inﬂuences the transversal strength. • 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. the ﬁbre materials and the matrix material respectively. cf. By introducing Hooke’s law. the end eﬀects (variation of stress along the ﬁbre and stress concentrations) cannot be neglected and must be dealt with. statistical methods need to be incorporated which however is considered as out of scope in the current course. In this case. In these materials. also Computer Assignment 1. 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 .3. εf T and εmT are the transversal strains in the composite RVE. (and neglecting any poisson strains) this can be written as σf σm σc = Vf + Vm . for detailed predictions of the composite strength.

Halpin and Tsai developed simple and generalised equations to ﬁt more advanced micromechanical models for transverse stiﬀness. cf. η= Em 1 − ηVf (Ef /Em ) + ξ 7 (23) . If we now ﬁnally assume that the stress in each of the constituents (ﬁbre and matrix) is the same (the so-called Reuss assumption). Figure 3-9a).. The improve the predictions. also Figure 5. 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. 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. Principles of Composite Material Mechanics 2nd ed. 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. the resulting expression for the (transverse) stiﬀness can be shown to be the lower bound given a certain ﬁbre volume fraction. i. inverse rule of mixtures Figure 5: Longitudinal and transverse stiﬀness as function of ﬁbre volume fraction (from Agarwal et al.e.Figure 4: Model for predicting transverse stiﬀness of unidirectional composite (from Gibson. 2007).3.

35. Instead. 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). νm = 0. 4:1537. the existence of ﬁbres place restrictions on the transverse deformations. 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. 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 Transverse strength The transverse strength of a composite is reduced by the existence of ﬁbres. causing strain and stress concentrations in their vicinity. cf. the composite transverse failure strength σT U can be expressed as σT U = σmu S (24) 8 .3 (from Agarwal et al. Thus.in which ξ is a measure of the reinforcements and relates to the ﬁbre geometry (curve ﬁtting parameter). 2.. νf = 0. Figure 7: Stress distribution in matrix surrounding a single cylindrical inclusion EF /Em = 10. 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.3. cf. IAAA. ﬁgure 3-9b). Figure 6 for a comparison made against experimental data for boron-epoxy lamina reported by Whitney and Riley (J. the ﬁbres cannot carry a large portion of the load which instead is distributed between the ﬁbre and the matrix material. 1966). The reason is that due to their geometry. ﬁgure 3-12a)..

5 in the course book on your own.4 in the course book on your own. (25) Based on Finite Element Analysis Another alternative is to analyse the stress distribution in a UD lamina by FEM. Chen and Lin (Mater.1 Major results GLT = Halpin-Tsai: 1 Vf /Gf + Vm /Gm (26) Inverse rule of mixtures: GL T 1 + ξηVf (Gf /Gm ) − 1 = . ﬁgure 3-12b). The strength-of-materials method Based on the strength-of-materials method.in which S is a strength reduction factor. 2.4. 2.1 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 .5 Poisson’s ratio Study subsection 3. 2. This reduction factor can be predicted by several methods. ξ=1 Gm 1 − ηVf (Gf /Gm ) + ξ (27) 2.35. 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 )) . 1969). cf. Stand. MTRSA.. νf = 0.4 Shear modulus Study subsection 3. Res. η= . the results in shown in Figure 7 obtained by e.5. 9:29-33.2 (from Agarwal et al.g. Figure 8: Principal stress in matrix surrounding multiple ﬁbres obtained by FEM by Chen and Lin νm = 0.

. 1980) (33) ρm 1 (αf Ef Vf + αm Em Vm ) EL = (1 + νf ) αf Vf + (1 + νm ) αm Vm − αL νLT = (30) (31) 10 .J.e.7.g.7. Compos Mater. i.1 and 3. σL = 0 and σT = 0 is used. Major results Thermal expansion coeﬃcients (from Scharpery. 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. i. Introduction to Composite Materials. Tsai and Hahn. 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. 2:280-404.e. the Reuss assumption is used • The macroscopic stresses in the lamina are zero. e.2 in the course book on your own. For the thermal case.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.

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