- Original Article
- Open Access
Effect of Cycling Low Velocity Impact on Mechanical and Wear Properties of CFRP Laminate Composites
© The Author(s) 2018
- Received: 3 February 2018
- Accepted: 21 November 2018
- Published: 27 December 2018
The mechanical and wear properties of CFRP laminate were investigated using a method of cycling low velocity impact, to study the trend and mechanism of impact resistance of the CFRP laminate under repeated impact during its service process. The interface responses of CFRP laminate under different impact kinetic energy during the cycling impact process were studied were studied experimentally, such as impact contact duration, deformation and energy absorption. The worn surface morphologies were observed through optical microscopy and a 3-D surface profiler and the cross-sectional morphologies were observed through SEM to investigate the mechanism of impact material damage. Based on a single-degree-of-freedom damping vibration model, the normal contact stiffness and contact damping of the material in different wear stages were calculated. It shows the failure process of CFRP laminate damaged by accumulated absorption energy under the cycling impact of different initial kinetic energy. The results indicate that the stiffness and damping coefficients will change at different impact velocities or cycle numbers. The damage mechanism of CFRP laminates under cycling low kinetic energy is delamination. After repeated experiments, it was found that there was a threshold value for the accumulated absorption energy before the failure of the CFRP laminate.
- CFRP laminate
- Low velocity impact
- Impact resistance
- Accumulated absorption energy threshold
Carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) is a well-known composite with high tensile strength and low density and is used to manufacture satellites , airplanes , sports cars , and wind power generation equipment . However, CFRP materials also have many drawbacks. For example, CFRP materials exhibits low tolerance against damage, such as delamination due to impact damage. CFRP materials internally delaminate when subjected to a cycling low-velocity impact load because of their low energy absorption capability; this weakness is one of the major failures of the CFRP material [5, 6]. Because of the common erosion of gravel  and the periodically mechanical vibration  during the work process, the components made by CFRP laminate encounter cycling impact, which may lead to CFRP laminate delamination and equipment failure.
The investigation of the failure of CFRP laminate is mainly focused on the different ranges of impact velocity [9, 10], material properties , loading conditions [12–14], surface treatment methods , and failure prediction using FEM [16, 17]. Various studies have investigated the impact damage and response of CFRP laminate. He et al. [18–20], Petronyuk et al.  and Boccardi et al.  have done considerable research on the nondestructive testing methods of composite laminate subjected to impact loads through the techniques of pulsed eddy current (PEC), impulse acoustic microscopy and infrared thermography. Jang et al. [23–26] has investigated the impact signals obtained from the high-speed fiber Bragg grating (FBG) sensor system on CFRP laminates. Through this method of analyzing the FBG sensor signal, locating the impact source and detecting delamination damage of the material in real time is possible. Palazzetti et al. [27–30] has done a lot of research about the effect of nanofibrous on mechanical properties of polymeric composite materials. Saito et al.  has studied the effect of ply thickness on impact damage to CFRP laminates. Aoki et al.  has investigated the effect of hydrothermal conditions on CFRP laminates’ impact strength.
The test method for the impact resistance of composite materials and metal materials is mainly Charpy impact test method [33–35]. The drawbacks of this single-impact test method are lacking of interface response data during the impact contact process, and cannot detect the effect of accumulated absorption energy on material properties. Cai et al. [36–38] have proposed studying the constant kinetic energy impact of the experimental method with high sampling ratio. It makes it possible to measure the effect of interface response and cumulative absorption energy on material properties during impact contact process. This research is based on an independently developed low-velocity equipment for impact experiments with the constant kinetic energy impact of the experimental method. In this study, we investigate the dynamic response, energy absorption, and mechanical response formula of CFRP laminate plates. In addition, the relationships among the stiffness and damping coefficients versus impact velocity and impact cycles have been explored.
2.1 Experiment Methods
This test device has two sensors, namely, a motion detector (5), which records position as a function of time during the impact process, and a force sensor (1) behind the support structure (2) of specimens that records the inertial force of the impact block when the impact head hits the specimens. All the data will be received by a controller and sent to a software on a PC.
2.2 Experiment Materials
2.3 Analysis and Testing
After the test, the surface morphology of the sample was observed under an optical microscope (OM, OLYMPUS-BX60M) and a 3-D surface profiler. The cross-sectional morphology was analyzed by the SEM. Data were recorded using a motion detector and a force sensor throughout the experiment to investigate the response and damage mechanism.
3.1 Interface Responds
During the experiment, the data on contact force signal and motion signal were collected at multiple sampling points.
When the initial impact velocity is higher than 120 mm/s, the contact duration increases and the peak contact force decreases with an increase in the impact cycle. When the initial impact velocity is not lower than 160 mm/s, the impact of the contact force sharply drops and the contact duration quickly rises after a number of impact cycles.
Separating the motion data of the impact block, we obtain the velocity of the impact block, the 1000th cycle’s impact of which is shown in Figure 5(b). The error of the initial impact velocity is less than 2%. The higher the initial impact velocity, the lower the time cost of reducing the impact block velocity to zero.
By calculating the velocity of the impact block, we obtain the latter’s kinetic energy during the impact process, the 1000th cycle’s impact of which is shown in Figure 5(c). The ratio of kinetic energy absorption is stabilized at approximately 25% at the 1000th impact cycle.
3.2 Wear Behavior
3.3 Stiffness and Damping Characteristic Analysis
Comparing the kinetic energy of the impact block (Figure 5(c)) with the work data of the impact force Figure 12(b)), the difference between the work done by the impact force and the absorbed kinetic energy appears to be considerably small, leading us to believe that the external disturbance will not affect the impact process. The residual kinetic energy in the sample is significantly small when the impact head and the sample separation are separated because the mass of the sample (approximately 0.7 g) is considerably smaller than that of the impact block (570 g).
In Figure 16(a), the stiffness coefficient is lower when the initial impact velocity is higher. When the initial impact velocity is lower than 120 mm/s, the stiffness coefficient decreases as the number of impact cycles increases. However, when the initial impact velocity is higher than 140 mm/s, the stiffness coefficient increases as the number of impact cycles increases. The stiffness coefficient decreases rapidly after approximately 6000–8000 times of impact when the initial impact velocity is higher than 160 mm/s.
Figure 16(b) shows that the damping coefficient does not significantly change at different initial impact velocities. When the initial impact velocity is lower than 120 mm/s, the damping coefficient slowly increases as the number of impact cycles increases. However, when the initial impact velocity is higher than 140 mm/s, the damping coefficient decreases slowly as the number of impact cycles increases. The damping coefficient decreases rapidly after approximately 6000–8000 times of impact when the initial impact velocity is higher than 160 mm/s.
When the impact energy is changed by changing the initial impact velocity, the peak value of the impact contact force increases linearly with the impact velocity and the contact time decreases slightly with the increase in impact velocity.
Energy absorption and wear area are highly correlated (ρ = 0.9899). However, the volume of the wear scars at the initial impact velocities of 160 mm/s and 180 mm/s increases more than that at lower initial impact velocities due to the delamination of the specimens. Also, it results in a lower correlation (ρ = 0.9352) between energy absorption and wear volume.
The stiffness coefficient and the damping coefficient of the CFRP laminate specimens are calculated by fitting Eqs. (7) and (8). The stiffness coefficient is lower when the impact velocity is higher. However, the change in the damping coefficient at different impact velocities is not considerable. When the CFRP laminate specimens delaminate, the stiffness coefficient and the damping coefficient decrease rapidly with an increase in the number of experiment cycles.
The delamination of the CFRP laminate specimens occurs only in experiments with high initial impact velocities (160 mm/s and 180 mm/s). The specimens delaminate after 6000–8000 times of impact rather than in the beginning of the experiment. The correlation between delamination and cumulative energy absorption is low. Therefore, we assume that a threshold for absorbed energy exists during a single impact to the CFRP laminate specimens to be delaminated.
Z-BC was in charge of the whole trial; YS wrote the manuscript; S-BW assisted with sampling and laboratory analyses; J-XY provided necessary help during the process of analyses. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Yang Sun, born in 1991, is currently a master candidate at Institute of tribology, Southwest Jiaotong University, China. He received his bachelor degree from Beijing Institute of Technology, China, in 2013. His research interests include impact fretting wear and development of equipment.
Zhen-Bing Cai, born in 1981. He received his PhD degree in materials science from Southwest Jiaotong University, China, in 2009. He joined the School of Mechanical Engineering, Southwest Jiaotong University, China from 2009. His current position is a professor and the deputy director of the Tribology Research Institute. His research areas cover the tribology of electrical contact system, aviation and nuclear power equipment.
Song-Bo Wu, born in 1992, is currently a master candidate at Institute of tribology, South West Jiaotong University, China. He received his bachelor degree from Henan Polytechnic University, China, in 2016.
Jian-Hua Liu, born in 1992, is currently a postdoctor in South West Jiaotong University, China. He received his PhDs degree from South West Jiaotong University, China, in 2016.
Jia-Xin Yu, born in 1982, is currently a professor at Institute of Manufacturing Science and Engineering, South West University of Science and Technology, China. He received his PhD degree on mechanical design and theory from South West Jiaotong University, China, in 2011.
The authors sincerely thank Professor Min-Hao Zhu of Southwest Jiaotong University for his critical discussion and reading during manuscript preparation.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
Supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. U1530136, 51627806), Young Scientific Innovation Team of Science and Technology of Sichuan Province of China (Grant No. 2017TD0017), and Opening Project of Key Laboratory of Testing Technology for Manufacturing Process of China (Grant Nos. 2016-01, Southwest University of Science and Technology).
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