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Influence of microstructure on debonding at the fiber/matrix interface in fiber-reinforced polymers under tensile loading

Abstract : The main objective of the present work is to investigate the influence of the microstructure on debond growth along the fiber arc direction. To this end, models of 2-dimensional Representative Volume Elements (RVEs) of Uni-Directional (UD) composites and cross-ply laminates are developed. The Representative Volume Elements are characterized by different configurations of fibers and different damage states. Debond initiation is studied through the analysis of the distribution of stresses at the fiber/matrix interface in the absence of damage. Debond growth on the other hand is characterized using the approach of Linear Elastic Fracture Mechanics (LEFM), specifically through the evaluation of the Mode I, Mode II and total Energy Release Rate (ERR). Displacement and stress fields are evaluated by means of the Finite Element Method (FEM) using the commercial solver Abaqus. The components of the Energy Release Rate are then evaluated using the Virtual Crack Closure Technique (VCCT), implemented in a custom Python routine. The elastic solution of the debonding problem presents two different regimes: the open crack and the closed crack behavior. In the latter, debond faces are in contact in a region of finite size at the debond tip and it is known that stress and displacement fields at the debond tip present an oscillating singularity. A convergence analysis of the VCCT in the context of the FEM solution is thus required to guarantee the validity of results and represents the first step of the work presented in this thesis. Debond growth under remote tensile loading is then studied in Representative Volume Elements of: UD composites of varying thickness, measured in terms of number of rows of fibers; cross-ply laminates with a central 90° ply of varying thickness, measured as well in terms of number of rows of fibers; thick UD composites (modelled as infinite along the through-the-thickness direction). Different damage configurations are also considered, corresponding to different stages of transverse crack onset: non-interacting isolated debonds; interacting debonds distributed along the loading direction; debonds on consecutive fibers along the through-the-thickness direction. Finally, an estimation of debond size at initiation and of debond maximum size is proposed based on arguments from stress analysis (for initiation) and on Griffith's criterion from LEFM (for propagation).
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Submitted on : Thursday, April 23, 2020 - 4:28:50 PM
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Luca Di Stasio. Influence of microstructure on debonding at the fiber/matrix interface in fiber-reinforced polymers under tensile loading. Materials. Université de Lorraine; Université de technologie de Luleå (Suède), 2019. English. ⟨NNT : 2019LORR0229⟩. ⟨tel-02552524⟩



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