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The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Malaysia

Research project: Highly localised through-thickness compression loading and failure mechanism in composite laminates

Currently Active: 
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PhD studentship in Mechanical Engineering.

As fibre reinforced composite laminates are now used in load conditions with increasing complexity and thickness, out-of-plane stresses become inevitable. Structure engineers tend to avoid loading composite laminates in the through-thickness (out-of-plane) direction as there is no fibre reinforcement in that direction. Many are not aware of the fact that a multidirectional laminated composite can actually achieve a high through-thickness compressive strength (e.g. ~-1700 MPa for a cross-plied carbon/epoxy, as compared to -250 MPa for a unidirectional carbon/epoxy). This leads to under-ultilisation of composite materials for some potential structural applications. For example, highly localised through-thickness compressive stresses can often be found in structures where localised contact conditions exist, such as at the contact between a plate structure and a roller, or in a bolted joint assembly.

This PhD project aims to study experimentally the complex stress field and failure mechanism of multidirectional laminated composites subjected to high through-thickness compressive loading. High quality experimental data which is lacking in the open literature will be generated to develop a validated failure criterion/numerical model which can be applied for engineering design.

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