New progress has been made in the research on impact resistance of composite materials

On August 19, 2023, Beijing time, the team of Professor Wang Fusheng of the School of Mechanics and Civil Engineering and Architecture of Northwestern Polytechnical University published a research paper entitled “Impact Damage Resistance of Braided Composites under Pulsed Current” online in the journal Nature Communication. In this study, a method using pulse current to improve the impact resistance of three-dimensional orthogonal braided composites is proposed, and the inhibition mechanism of pulsed current on the impact damage of orthogonal braided composites is systematically revealed.

In the fields of aviation, aerospace and civil engineering, carbon fiber/epoxy resin matrix composites are prone to damage forms such as fiber fracture, resin damage and delamination under impact load, which reduces the bearing capacity of composite materials and poses a threat to the safety of aircraft and civil engineering structures. The methods for improving the impact resistance of composite materials are mostly considered from the aspects of material modification, structural design and manufacturing process, such as braided composite materials have unique advantages in suppressing impact damage compared with laminated composites. However, these methods still have limitations in improving the impact resistance of composites, and how to further improve the damage tolerance of composites under impact load is still one of the important problems in the theoretical research of composites.

In response to this problem, Professor Wang Fusheng’s team and collaborators combined the structural characteristics of the braid with the electromagnetic properties of carbon fiber, and proposed a strategy to reduce the impact damage of three-dimensional orthogonal woven composites. Using wireless communication technology, an integrated experimental platform such as drop weight impact testing machine, current source and data acquisition equipment was designed and built, and the coordinated loading of pulse current and impact force on orthogonal woven composites was realized. The results show that with the increase of pulse current peak from 0 A to 110 A, the inelastic energy and residual deformation of the three-dimensional orthogonal woven composite panel are reduced by 35.81% and 47.64%, respectively. Multi-scale and multiphysics modeling analysis shows that the current-carrying carbon fiber causes the yarn harness to be subjected to the electromagnetic force of transverse compression, which is conducive to improving the mechanical properties of the yarn. The formation and extrusion deformation of microcracks in the yarn causes a redistribution of local currents between carbon fibers, which interact with the self-field to produce an impact resistance. Based on the integrated design concept of material-structure-function, the influence of pulse current on the thermal effect of composites is effectively controlled, and this research result can provide a new way to improve the damage tolerance of composites under impact load.

Professor Wang Fusheng with some members of the team. (Photo courtesy of Northwestern Polytechnical University)

Professor Ren Jianting of Northwestern Polytechnical University, researcher Wang Donghong of the 33rd Research Institute of China Electronics Technology Group Corporation, Professor Kong Jie of Northwestern Polytechnical University, Associate Professor Liu Tao of Queen Mary University of London, and Long Laohu Senior Engineer of China Dongfang Electric Group Co., Ltd. are co-authors. (Source: Yan Tao, China Science News)

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