Investigation of fracture response of composites under different environmental conditions

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bristol
Department Name: Aerospace Engineering


Owing to the low resistance to cracks nature of high strength composite materials, they are particularly prone to defects and imperfections. Imperfections induced during manufacturing and transportation may lead to premature failure, and thus the accurate numerical prediction of residual strength - especially for the aerospace industry - is of considerable importance. Numerous research has been carried out at the University of Bristol and the Japanese Space Exploration Agency (JAXA) on the scaling of translaminar fracture response under room temperature dry conditions. It is also of significant importance to accurately predict the performance of composites under different temperature and moisture conditions for airworthiness purposes. The objective for the proposed PhD research project is to investigate the trans-laminar fracture performance subject to different environmental conditions. The main research question is - Investigation into translaminar fracture behaviour of composites at elevated temperature and development of model assisted prediction. However, this question is faced with some inherent challenges, such as the fracture response of composites being extremely complex, and key fracture properties such as size of the fracture process zone, crack length and the R-curve are still not well established. Modelling techniques such as High-fidelity Finite Element Method (Hi-FEM) have been developed for room temperature dry conditions but at different environmental conditions, its reliability remains to be verified. Further to this, materials other than UD pre-pregs, such as Non-Crimp Fabric (NCF), may also be considered. Further to that, my current MSc. research experience in structural health monitoring may also benefit the proposed PhD project as real-time NDE techniques may offer another perspective to damage mechanics understanding.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/S515310/1 01/10/2018 30/09/2022
2145750 Studentship EP/S515310/1 28/10/2018 30/09/2022 Xiaoyang Sun