Strain rate behavior of composite materials

H. M. Hsiao, I. M. Daniel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

163 Scopus citations


The effect of strain rate on the compressive and shear behavior of carbon/epoxy composite materials was investigated. Strain rate behavior of composites with fiber waviness was also studied. Falling weight impact system and servohydraulic testing machine were used for dynamic characterisation of composite materials in compression at strain rates up to several hundred per second. Strain rates below 10 s-1 were generated using a hydraulic testing machine. Strain rates above 10 s-1 were generated using the drop tower apparatus developed. Seventy-two-ply unidirectional carbon/epoxy laminates (IM6G/3501-6) loaded in the longitudinal and transverse directions and [(08/908)2/08]s crossply laminates were characterised. Off-axis (30 and 45°) compression tests of the same unidirectional material were also conducted to obtain the in-plane shear stress-strain behavior. The 90° properties, which are governed by the matrix, show an increase in modulus and strength over the static values but no significant change in ultimate strain. The shear stress-strain behavior, which is also matrix-dominated, shows high nonlinearity with a plateau region at a stress level that increases significantly with increasing strain rate. The 0° and crossply laminates show higher strength and strain values as the strain rate increases, whereas the modulus increases only slightly over the static value. The increase in strength and ultimate strain observed may be related to the shear behavior of the composite and the change in failure modes. In all cases the dynamic stress-strain curves stiffen as the strain rate increases. The stiffening is lowest in the longitudinal case and highest in the transverse and shear cases. Unidirectional and crossply specimens with fiber waviness were fabricated and tested. It is shown that, with severe fiber waviness, strong nonlinearity occurs in the stress-strain curves due to fiber waviness with significant stiffening as the strain rate increases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)521-533
Number of pages13
JournalComposites Part B: Engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1998


  • Compressive testing of composites
  • Dynamic response
  • Falling weight impact
  • Strain rate effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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