Microcracking of Materials for Space, National Aeronautics and Space Administr, 9781288915187


The effect of thermal-cycling-induced microcracking in fiber-reinforced polymer matrix composites is studied. Specific attention is focused on microcrack density as a function of the number of thermal cycles, and the effect of microcracking on the dimensional stability of composite materials. Changes in laminate coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) and laminate stiffness are of primary concern. Included in the study are materials containing four different Thornel fiber types: a PAN-based T50 fiber and three pitch-based fibers, P55, P75, and P120. The fiber stiffnesses range from 55 Msi to 120 Msi. The fiber CTE’s range from -0.50 x 1O(exp -6)/degrees F to -0.80 x 10(exp -6)/degrees F. Also included are three matrix types: Fiberite’s 934 epoxy, Amoco’s ERL1962 toughened epoxy, and YLA’s RS3 cyanate ester. The lamination sequences of the materials considered include a cross-ply configuration, [0/90](sub 2s), and two quasi-isotropic configurations, [0/+45/-45/90](sub s), and [0/+45/90/-45](sub s). The layer thickness of the materials range from a nominal 0.001 in. to 0.005 in. In addition to the variety of materials considered, three different thermal cycling temperature ranges are considered. These temperature ranges are +/-250 degrees F, +/-l5O degrees F, and +/-50 degrees F. The combination of these material and geometric parameters and temperature ranges, combined with thermal cycling to thousands of cycles, makes this one of the most comprehensive studies of thermal-cycling-induced microcracking to date. Experimental comparisons are presented by examining the effect of layer thickness, fiber type, matrix type, and thermal cycling temperature range on microcracking and its influence on the laminates. Results regarding layer thickness effects indicate that thin-layer laminates microcrack more severely than identical laminates with thick layers.

Additional information


Page Number