Purdue University Graduate School
CuttingDissertationFinal.pdf (96.71 MB)

Crash Performance of Pre-Impregnated Platelet Based Molded Composites

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posted on 2019-08-13, 17:38 authored by Rebecca A CuttingRebecca A Cutting
Platelets made of slit and chopped unidirectional, carbon-fiber prepreg are becoming a popular option for use as a high performance molding compound because of their high fiber volume fraction and increased ability to flow compared to continuous fiber systems. As this molding compound is newly introduced to industry, increasing amounts of research have gone into understanding how platelets flow during molding and how components perform mechanically based on the final orientation state of platelets. This work investigates the performance of prepreg platelet molding compound (PPMC) as a viable alternative to continuous fiber systems for use with geometrically complex structural members on vehicles subjected to collisions. In doing so, the crash performance, energy absorption, and failure morphology of crush tubes made with PPMC are investigated and quantified. Then, a simulation methodology is developed to obtain manufacturing-informed performance models to predict the effect of platelet orientation state on mechanical behavior of PPMC components. This methodology uses a building block approach where each block in modeling is verified against closed-form solution (when available) and validated against experimental results. Once confidence is developed in a modeling block, the complexity of the simulation is increased until a component with full platelet orientation distribution is captured. The result is PPMC component models that are capable of predicting mechanical performance in orientation regimes that are not investigated experimentally.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Aeronautics and Astronautics

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

R. Byron Pipes

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee co-chair

Johnathan E. Goodsell

Additional Committee Member 2

Tyler N. Tallman

Additional Committee Member 3

Weinong Chen