Purdue University Graduate School
Gutierrez_Gabriel_MS_Thesis_AAE.pdf (6.33 MB)

Effect of Large Holes and Platelet Width on the Open-Hole Tension Performance of Prepreg Platelet Molded Composites

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posted on 2022-10-07, 15:01 authored by Gabriel GutierrezGabriel Gutierrez

Carbon-fiber reinforced polymers (CFRPs) are often used in the aerospace and automotive  industries for their high strength-to-weight ratios and corrosion resistance. A new class of  composites – known as Prepreg Platelet Molded Composites (PPMCs) – offers further  advantageous such as high forming capabilities with modest compromises in strength and stiffness.  One such property of PPMCs that have garnered interest over the years is their apparent  insensitivity to notches. Previous studies have researched the effect of specimen size and platelet  length on its effect on the open-hole performance of PPMCs. Research however has focused on  thinner samples with smaller hole sizes and neglected thicker samples with larger holes.  Additionally, while platelet sizes have been investigated for unnotched samples, platelet width on  notched samples is less clear from the literature. The present thesis offers some investigations to  aid in filling this knowledge gap. 

The objective of this work is to study two parameters that could influence the performance of PPMCs under open-hole tension. First, thick (7.6 mm) specimens are subjected to large hole  sizes (up to 19.08 mm) to investigate their behavior in comparison to the smaller sample sizes  previously investigated in the literature. Through-thickness DIC measurements are taken to  investigate strain gradients in these thicker specimens. Second, various platelet widths are tested  to research their influence on notch insensitivity of open-hole tensile PPMC specimens. Lastly, a  finite element based continuum damage mechanics model is implemented to predict macro-level  structural properties using only material properties of the parent prepreg. It is found that large holes  in thick samples increase notch sensitivity compared to other samples of similar diameter-to-width  ratios. Narrower platelets were found to produce higher unnotched strengths, while wider platelets  offered more notch insensitivity. Lastly, the finite element model developed was found to  qualitatively replicate features and failure modes that are exhibited by PPMCs, though strength  predictions became inaccurate at larger specimen sizes. Recommendations are made for future  work on the basis of these findings.   


NSF Award Number 1953907


Degree Type

  • Master of Science


  • Aeronautics and Astronautics

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

R Byron Pipes

Additional Committee Member 2

Wenbin Yu

Additional Committee Member 3

Tyler Tallman