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CHAPTER 25

COMPOSITES:FIBROUS,
PARTICULATE AND FOAMED

Introduction

Thc word "composites" has a modern ring. But usingthe high strengthof libres to stiffen
a n d s t r e n g t h e na c h e a pm a t r i x m a t e r i a li s p r o b a b l yo l d e r t h a n t h e w h e e l .T h e P r o c e s s i o n a l
Wav in ancient Babylon. one of the lesserwonders of the ancient world, was made of
bitumen reinforced with plaited straw. Straw and horse hair have been used to reinforce
mud bricks (improving their fracture toughness) for at least 5000 years. Paper is a
compt'lsite:so is concrete;both were known to the ancient Rtlmans. And almost all natural
m a t e r i a l sw h i c h m u s t b e a r l o a d - w o o d . b o n e . m u s c l e - a r e c o m p o s i t e s .
T h e c t t m p o s i t ei n d u s t r y .h o w e v e r .i s n e w . I t h a sg r o w n r a p i d l y i n t h e p a s t3 0 y e a r sw i t h
thc ricvelopmcnt of Jibrous compo,siles:to begin with. g/ass-librereinforced polymers
(GF If P trr fibrcqlass)and. more recentl;;.ci;rbon-f,brereinforcedpolvnters(CFRP). Their
u s e i n b t t a t s .a n d t h c i r i n c r e a s i n gr e p l a c e m e n o t f m e t a l si n a i r c r a f t a n d g r o u n d t r a n s p o r t
s v s t e m s i,s a r e v o l u t i o ni n m a t e r i a lu s a g ew h i c h i s s t i l l a c c e l e r a t i n g .
Compositcs need not be made of fibres. Plywood is a lamellar composite. giving a
m a t e r i a lw i t h u n i f o r m p r o p e r t i e si n t h e p l a n eo f t h e s h e e t( u n l i k e t h e w o o d f r o m w h i c h i t
i s m a d e ) . S h c e t so f G F R P o r o f C F R P a r e l a m i n a t e dt o g e t h e r ,f o r t h e s a m er e a s o n .A n d
sandrvichpancls---compositcsmade of stiff skins with a low-densitycttre-achieve special
p r o p c r t i c sb v c o m b i n i n g .i n a s h c c t ,t h c b e s tf e a t u r e so f t w o v e r y d i f f e r c n t c o m p o n c n t s .
Cheapest of all are the purticulutecontposites.Aggregate plus ccnlcnt sives concrctc.
a n d t h e c o m p o s i t ei s c h e a p c r( p c r u n i t v o l u m e ) t h a n t h e c e m e n t i t s e l f . P o l y m c r sc a n b e
f i l l c d w i t h s a n d .s i l i c af l t r u r .t t r g l a s sp a r t i c l e s .i n c r e a s i n gt h e s t i f f n e s sa n d w c a r - r g s i s t a n c e .
a n d o f t c n r c d u c i n gt h e p r i c e . A n d o n c p a r t i c u l a t ec o m p o s i t c .t u n g s t e n - c a r b i dpea r t i c l e si n
" h a r d m e t a l " ) , i s t h e b a s i so f t h c h e a v v - d u t y
c o b a l t ( k n o w n a s " c e m e n t e dc a r b i d c " o r
c u t t i n gt ( ) 0 1i n d u s t r y .
But high stiffnessis not always rvhat you want. Cushiclns,packagingand crash-padding
r e q u i r c m a t c r i a l sw i t h m o d u l i t h a t a r e l o w e r t h a n t h o s eo f a n y s o l i d .T h i s c a n b e d o n e w i t h
lbums----ct'ul positcstlf a solid and a gas-rvhich have propertieswhich can be tailored, with
g r c n t p r c c i s i o n .t o m a t c h t h c e n g i n c c r i n gn e e d .
W c n r l w c x a m i n e t h c p r o p c r t i c so f f i b r o u sa n d p a r i c u l a t c c o m p o s i t c sa n d f o a m s i n a
l i t t l c m t l r c t l c t a i l . W i t l r t h c s c m a t c r i a l s .m o r e t h a n a n y o t h e r . p r o p c r t i e sc a n b c d e s i g n e d -

,I
&t
i n : t h c c h a r a c t c r i s t i cosf t h c m a t e r i a li t s c l fc a n b e c n g i n e e r c d .

2.1I
11")
-t- ENGINEERING MA]'[,RIAI,S

Fibrouscomposiles

P o l v n r e r sh u v c a l o u ' s t i f l n c s s , a n d ( i n t h e r i g h t r a n g c o l t c m p c r a t u r c ) a r c d u c t i l c .
C c r a n r i c sa n d g l a s s c sa r e s t i f f a n d s t r o n g , b u t a r e c a t a s t r o p h i c a l l vb r i t t l e . l n J i b r o u s
c o n t p < t s i l ewsc c x p l o i t t h e g r c a t s t r e n g t ho f t h e c e r a m i cw h i l c a v o i d i n gt h e c : l t a s t r o p h :et h c
b r i t t l e f a i l u r eo f f i b r c sl c a d st o a p r o g r e s s i v en, o t a s u d d e n ,f a i l u r e .
I f t h c f i b r c so f a c o m p r . r s i taer e a l i g n e da l o n gt h c l o a d i n gd i r e c t i o n ,t h c n t h e s t i f f n c s sa n c
t h c s t r c n g t h : r r e. r o u { h l t , s p e a k i n g ,a n a v c r a g eo f t h o s eo f t h c m a t r i x a n d { i b r e s .w c i g h t c d
b r t h c i r v o l u n r cf r u c l i o n s .B u t n o t a l l c o m p o s i t cp r o p c r t i c sa r c i u s t a l i n c a r c o n r b i n u t i o no f
t h o s c o l ' t h c c o r u p o n c n t sT. h c i r g r c a t a t t r a c t i o nl i c s i n t h c l ' a c tt h a t . f r c q u en t l r ' . s o r l c l h i n g
c x t r ai s q a i n c d .
T h c t o u g h n c s si s a n c x a n t p l e .I f a c r a c k s i m p l l ' r a n t h r o u g h ; r G F R P c o r l p o s i t c . o n e '
n i g h t ( a t l i r s t s i g h t ) c x p c c t t h e t o u g h n e s s1 o b e a s i m p l eu ' e i g h t c da v c r a e co f t h a t o f g l a s s
a n d c p o x r ' :a n d b o t h a r e l o w . B u t t h a t i s n o t w h a t h a p p e n s .T h e s t r o n gf i b r c sp u l l o u t o f t h c
e p o x ) ' . l n p u l l i n g o u t . $ ' o r k i s d o n e a n d t h i s w o r k c o n t r i b u t e st o t h c t o u g h n c s so f t h c
c o m p o s i t e. T h e t o u g h n e s si s g r e a t e r - - - o f t e nm u c h g r e a t c r - t h a n t h c l i n c a r c o m b i n a t i o n .
P o l v m c r - m a t r i x c o m p o s i t e sf o r a e r o s p a c ea n d t r a n s p o r t a r e m a d c b v l a v i n g u p g l a s s .
c a r b o nt ' r rK c v l a r f i b r c s( T a b l e2 5 . 1 )i n a n u n c u r e dm i x t u r eo f r e s i na n d h l r r d c n c r .T h c r c s i n
c u r c s . t a k i n g u p t h c s h a p eo f t h e m o u l d a n d b o n d i n g t o t h c f i b r c s . N , l a n vc o n r p o s i t e sa r c
b a s e do n c p o x i e s .t h o u g h t h e r e i s n o w a t r e n d t o u s i n gt h e c h e a p c rp o l l ' e s t c r s .
L a f i n g - u p i s a s l o w . l a b o u r - i n t e n s i v ej o b . I t c a n b e b y - p a s s c db , vu s i n g t h c r m o p l a s t i c s
c o n l a i n i n gc h o p p c df i b r e su ' h i c hc a n b e i n j e c t i o nm o u l d ed . T h e r a n d o m c h o p p e df i b r c sa r c
n o t q u i t e a sc f f e c t i v ea s l a i d - u pc o n t i n u o u sf i b r e s .w h i c h c a n b e o r i e n t e dt o m a x i m i s ct h ei r
c o n t r i b u t i o nt o t h e s t r e n g t h .B u t t h e f l o w p a t t e r n i n i n j e c t i o n m o u l d i n g h c l p s t o l i n e t h e
fibresup, so that clever mould designcan give a stiff . strong product. The techniqueis used
increasinglvfor sports goods (tennis racquets, for instance)and light-weight hiking gear
( l i k e b a c k - p a c kf r a m e s ) .
Making good fibre-compositesis not easy; large companics have been bankrupted b-v
t h e i r f a i l u r et o d o s o . T h e t e c h n o l o g yi s b e t t e r u n d e r s t o o dt h a n i t u s c d t o b e : t h e t r i c k sc a n
b e f o u n d i n t h e b o o k s l i s t e du n d e r F u r t h e r r e a d i n g .B u t s u p p o s cy o u c a n m a k e t h e m . v o u
s t i l l h a v et o k n o u ' h o w t o u s et h e m . T h a t n e e d sa n u n d e r s t a n d i n go f t h c i r p r o p e r t i e s .u ' h i c h
we examine next. The important properties of three common composites are listed in
Table 25.2. where they are compared with a high-strength steel and a high-strength
aluminium allov of the sort used for aircraft structures.

TABLE 25.I
Pnoppnnrs oF soME FIBRES AND MATRICES

Density Modulus Strength


p(Mgm-t) E(GPa) o7 (lr{Pa)

Fibres
Carbon. T1'pe I l.95 390 2200
Carbon.Type 2 1.75 250 2700
C e l l u l o s ef i b r e s l.or 60 1200
G l a s s( E - g l a s s ) 2.56 76 1400-2500
Kevlar 1.45 125 2760

Matrices
Epoxies t.2-1.4 2 .1 - 5 . 5 40-85
Polyesters 1.1-1.4 1.4.5 45-85
COMPOSITES: FIBROUS. PARTICULATE AND FOAMED 243

€o\
8 R3
r\o€
alr
o

cO€O C-6
r , H o O d

o. ri rcj

c t a l h N N
g

q
:
t 2 7
6 -
I
- r € , C !
I I II C N
: { < a!al
; a z o.?
;I
c t 4
{
r,F
r r o
Ao: x x
m = 6 z o a i N -i4
< :
F i " D b

7.

6 ) - ' c r -
r c = r
al
C C -
& > Ec')
a

A>

u -
'.:
> a c

cl Eol
EEE =

#;Eii?
sar;c
sg5
1 A a EN(;INE[,RING MAT'ERIAI,S

t f t

High
modulus

o o o o o
o o o o o
(bi o o
o o o
O O O O O
mooutus o o o o o
o o O o o
O O O O
o o o o o

t l
--'-\ Hrgh
(c) Low modulus
modulus

F i g . 1 5 . 1 . 1 s )\ ' h e n l o a d e d a l o n g t h e 6 b r e d i r c c t i o n t h e f i b r e s a n d m a l r i x o f a c o n t i n u o u s - f i b r ec o m p o s i t cs u f f e r
c q u a l s t r a i n s .( b ) t A ' h c nl o a d e d a c r o s st h e f i b r e d i r e c r i o n .t h e f i b r e sa n d m a t r i x s c er o u g h l l ' e q u a l s t r e s s ;p a r t i c u l a t c
c o m p o s i t e sa r e t h e s a m e - ( c ) A 0 - 9 0 " l a m i n a t e h a s h i g h a n d l o u m o d u l u s d i r e c t i o n s ; a 0 - { 5 - 9 0 - 1 3 5 ' l a m i n a t e i s
ncarll isotropic.

Modulus

Whentu,olinear-elastic (thoughu'ithdifferentmoduli)aremixed,themixture
materials
The modulusof a fibrouscompositewhen loadeda/ongthe fibre
is also linear-elastic.
direction(Fig.25.1a)is a linearcombinationof that of the fibres, E1,andthe matrix.E'
E4;,=V1E7+ (1 - V)E^ (2s.1)
*'hereV, is thevolumefractionof fibres(seeBook I , Chapter6). The modulusof thesame
matcrial,loaded thefibres(Fig.25.1b)is muchless-it is only
across

tr =!\-*l-v,J-'
-': /'r5 l)
l4 E,, )
(sceBook 1, Chapter6 again).
Table 25.1 givesEr and E^ for commoncomposites.The moduli 811and E- for a
compositewith, say,50% of fibres,differ greatly:a uniaxialcomposite(one in whichall
anisotropic.By usinga cross-weave
tbe fibresare alignedin one direction)is exceedingly
of fibres(Fig.25.1c)the moduliin the0 and90odirectionscanbe madeequal,but thoseat
45oarestill very low. Approximateisotropycanbe restoredby laminatingsheets,rotated
through45o,to give a ply'u'ood-likefbrelaminate.
COMPOSITES: FIBROUS, PARTICULATE AND FOAMED 245

S t r a r nr ' '

curveof a conrinuous
Fig.15.2.The srress-srrain fibrecomposite (heavyline).sho.wing howit relatesto thoseof
thl fibresandthe matrix(thin lines).At the peakthe fibresareon thepointof failing.

Tensilestrengthand thecriticalfibre length

Nlanyfibrouscomposites are madeof strong.brittle fibresin a moreductilepolymeric


matrix.Thenthestress-strain curvelooksliketheheavylinein Fig.25.2.Thefigurelargely
explainsitself.The stress-strain cun'eis linear.with slopeE (eqn.2-5.1) untilthematrix
yields.From thereon. mostof the extraload is carried by the fibres which continueto
stretchelasticallyuntil theyfracture.Whentheydo, thestress drops to the yieldstrength
of the matrix (thoughnot assharplyasthe figureshowsbecause the fibres don't all break
at once).Whenthe matrixfractures, thecomposite failscompletely.
In anystructural application whichmatters.At the peak,the fibres
it is the peakstress
arejust on the pointof breakingand thc matrixhasyielded,so the stressis givenby the
yielr/strengthoi the matrix.di. and thefracturestrengthof the frbres.of. combinedusing
a ruleof mixtures
o 1 5 = " ' , o t 1+ ( l - l/,):/'i (1s.3)
Thisis shownasthe linerisingto the rightin Fig.25.3.Onccthefibrcshavefractured, the
strengthrises to a secondmaximumdetermined by the fracturestrengthtlf the matrix
ors:(l-Vt){t! (2s.4)

V o l u m ef r a c t r oont l i b r e sl V . )

F i g . J 5 . 3 . T h c v a r i a t i o n o fp c u k s t r c s s w i t h v o l u n r c f r a c t i o n ol ifb r c s . . \ m i n i m u m v o l u m c f r a c t i t r n ( 7 r , , , , ) i s n e c d c d
t r )q i v c { n v s t r c n t t h c n i n g .
?16 ENGINT[,RIN(iMATERIALS

u ' h c r c r r ' l ' i st h e { r a c t u r cs t r c n g t ho f t h c m a t r i x : i t i s s h o u ' na s t h c I i n c f a l l i n gt o t h c r i g h t o n


F i g . 2 5 . 3 .T h c f i g u r cs h o u , st h a t a d d i n gl o o f e w f i b r e sd o e sm o r e h a r m t h a n g o o d : a c r i t i c a l
volume fraction Vr,,,of fibres must be cxccededto give an increasein strength.If there are
t o o f e w , t h e y f r a c t u r eb c f o r e t h c p c a k i s r e a c h e da n d t h e u l t i m a t es t r e n g t ho f t h e m a t e r i a l
is rcduced.
F o r m a n y a p p l i c a t i o n s( e . g . b o d v p r c s s i n g s )i,t i s i n c o n v e n i e n t o u s ec o n t i n u o u sf i b r c s .
I t i s a r e m a r k a b l cf c a t u r co f t h c s c n r a t c r i a l st h a t c h o p p c df i b r e c o m p o s i t e s( c o n v e n i c n tf o r
m o u l d i n g o p c r a t i o n s )a r c n c a r l Ya s s t r o n g a s t h o s c u ' i t h c o n t i n u o u sf i b r c s . p r r v i d c d t h c
f i b r c l e n g t he x c c e d sa c r i t i c a lv u l u c .
C o n s i c l c rt h c p c a k s t r e s st h a t c a n b e c a r r i c d b v a c h o p p e d - f i b r cc o m p o s i t cu , h i c hh a s a
m a t r i x u ' i t h a v i c l d s t r e n l : t hi n s h c - a or f r r ' l ' ( r r ' i ' = ! r r ' i ') . F i g u r c 2 - 5 . 4s h o w st h a t t h c a x i a l
f o r c c t r a n s m i t t c dt o a f i b r c o f d i a n r c t c rr . ro|v c r a I i t t l e s e g m c n t5 x o f i t s l c n c t h i s

6F : ndo",'6x. /')< <\

T h e f o r c e o n t h c f i b r c t h u s i n c r c a s c sf r o n r z e r o a t i t s e n d t o t h e v a l u e
fr
F= | rdo",'dr=ndo'l'x (2.5.6)
,l 0

z t !a d i s t a n c c- r f r o m t h c c r : r ! T l r r ' f o r c c r v h i c hu ' i l l j u s t b r c a k t h e f i b r e i s

F, = T o',. ra57)
+

Equating thesetwo forces. u'c find that the fibre u'ill break at a distance
t f
d o i
'
\ " . = - i (2s.
s)
I d'.'
f r o m i t s e n d . I f t h e f i b r e l e n g t h i s l c s st h a n 2 - r , .t h e f i b r e s d o n o t b r e a k - b u t n o r d o t h e y
c a r r ) 'a s m u c h l o a d a s t h c v c o u l d . I f t h e i ' a r c n r u c hl o n g c r t h a n 2 r , . t h e n n o t h i n gi s g a i n c d
b , vt h e c x t r a l c n g t h . T h e o p t i m u m s t r e n g t h( a n d t h e m o s t c f f c c t i v e u s e o f t h e f i b r e s ) i s

-oF " ;dr4'ox

F4 1 Frbre

=
c
c

o D i s t a n c e( x ) |

F i g . 2 - 5 . 4 .L o a d t r a n s f e r f r o m t h e n r a t r i l t o t h c f i b r e c a u s e st h e t e n s i l e s t r e s si n t h e f i b r e 1 < rl i s e t o a p e a k i n t h c
m i d d l e . I f t h e p e a k e x c e c d st h e f r a c t u r e s t r c n g t h o f t h e f i b r e , i t b r e a k s .
f,
*
#
C O M P O S I T E S :F I B R O U S . P A R T I C U L A T E A N D F O A M E D 247
*'
f
$
]E
{
i
:
l!

Compresston

t h a n t h a t f o r f a i l u r ci n l c n s t t r n '
F i g . 1 5 . 5 .C o m p o s i r e sf a i l i n c o m p r e s s i o nh 1 -k i n k i n g .u t a k r a d* h i c h i s l o $ c r

stresscarried
obtained by chopping them to the length 2x,.in the first place' The average
b y a f i b r ei r i h e n i i h p i y o l l 2 a n d t h e p e i k s t r e n g t h( b y t h e a r g u m e n d
t e v e l o p e de a r l i c r )i s

,rr-r=! + ( 1 - r ' ) di!. (2-5.e


)

T h i s i s m o r e t h a n o n c - h a l fo f t h c s t r e n g t ho f t h c c o n t i n u o u s - f i b r e m a t e r i a l( e q n . 3 5 . 3 ) .O r
i t i s i f a l l t h e f i b r c sa r e a l i g n c da l o n g t h c l o a c i i n sc l i r c c t i o n T . h a t . o f c o u r s c .w i l l n o t b e t r u e
in a chopped-fibre c o m p c i s i t .
e I n a i a r h o i l y ' f
. o r i n s t a n c e t
. h c f i b r e sa r e r a n d o m l yo r i e n t e d
in the p f a n eo f t h c p a n e l .T h c n o n 1 1 a" f r a c t i o no f t h e m - a b o u t l - a r c a l i g n e ds o t h a t m u c h
t e n s i l ef o r c e i s t r a n s f e r r e d t o t h e m , a n d t h e c o n t r i b u t i o n s o f t h e f i b r e st o t h e s t i f f n e s sa n d
s t r e n g t ha r e c o r r e s p o n d i n g l y r e d u c e d '
T h e c o m p r e s s i v es t r e n g i ho f c t t m p o s i t c si s l e s st h a n t h a t i n t c n s i o n .T h i s i s b e c a u s et h c
f i b r e sb u c k l e o r . m o r c p r e c i s e l - "t-h. c . r ' k i r r A - as o r t o f c o - o p r ' r a t i v cb u c k l i n g .s h o w ni n F i g .
2 - 5 . 5S . o w h i l e b r i t t l c c i ' r a n r i c sa r e b c s t i n c o m p r e s s i ( ) nc.( ) m p ( ) s i t cisl r c b e s t i n t c n s i t l n '

Toughness

T h e t o t t g h n e sG s , .o f a c o m p t t s i t e( l i k e t h a t o f a n y o t h c r m a t c r i a l ) i s a m c a s t l r co f t h e
energy absorbed per unit crirck arca. If the crack simpl-vpropagated straight thrtlugh the
s T ) a n t l f i b r e s ( t o u g h n e s sG l ) . w e m i g h t e x p c c t a s i n r p l c r u l e - o f -
m a t r l i ( t o u g h n e s .G
mixtures
/')<
c.- ! / l -

B u t i t d t t e sn o t u s u a l l yc l ot h i s . W c h a v c a l r e a d ys c e nt h a t . i f t h c l c n g t h o f t h c f i b r c si s l c s s
t h a n 2 x , . .t h e y w i l l n o t f r a c t u r c .A n d i f t h c . vd*o n ( ) tf r a c t u r ct h c , vm u s t i n s t c a dp u l l t l u t a s t h c
c r a c ko p e n s( n i g . Z S . O yT. h i s g i v c sa m a j o r n c w c o n t r i b u t i o nt o t h c t o u g h n c s sI.f t h c m a t n x
s h e a rs i r e n g t h i s g - i ' ( a s b c f o r e ) , t h c n t h c w o r k d o n e i n p u l l i n g a f i b r c o u t o f t h c f r a c t u r e
surfacc is given approximately b-v

Fcrr= *,nrru, : ntlo"l (2s.ll)


ll,',,t
T h c n u m h c r o I t i t r r c sp c r c n r c ka r c r i s 1 V , l r d : t h e v o l u n r c f r a c t i t l ni s t h e
l-1tl [N(;INEERIN(i MATI.RIAI-S

tll
,i.

.{:
,i
.1;

,,i
i

:,
F i g . 1 5 . 6 . F i b r e s t o u g h c n b v p u l l i n g o u t c r fr h c l r a c t u r c s u r f a c e .a b s o r b i n gc n e r g ] a s t h e c r a c k o p c n s

sameas theareafractionon a planeperpendicular


to the fibres).So the total work done
per unitcrackareais li

tr
G,=ndo!'^-t"ll1i.:LuTt. (2s.12)
d id- :d #
'1

This assumes that / is lessthanthe criticallength


1r.. If / is greaterthan2x. the fibresu,ill
not pullout,but will breakinstead. Thusoptimumtoughness I : 2x,in
is givenb1'setting ri-
:i.
e q n .( 2 5 . 1 2t)o g i v e
2 V t- , _ . _ 2 V r - l d o l \ '
Gr= n;r; = n;\4
T d q)
_ yy!@l), (2s.13)
8 oT'
The equationsaysthat, to get a high toughness, you shouldusestrongfibresin a rveak
matrix(thoughof coursea u'eakmatrixgivesa low strength).Thismechanism givesCFRp
andGFRP a toughness (50 kJ m-r) far higherthantharof eitherthe matrix1it<Jm-2; or
the fibres(0.1kJ m-2); withoutit neitherwouldbe usefulasan engineering material.

A pp Iicati ons of comp ositcs

In designingtransportationsystems,weightis as importantas strength.Figure25.7


showsthat, dependingon the geometryof loading,the componentwhichgiveJtheleast
it
C O M P O S I T E S :F I B R O U S . P A R T I C U L A T E A N D F O A M E D 249

Optimum Optimum
Mode of loading stranolh
FI
Et' t-
.
1y = ptr? 14 = ptt?
= lrrF\rr / u \
= F ll : J
\;/ E ' (rv

E
Maxrmise Maximise !
;
4Fll orl

Ef t-
,(
1y1= plt?
/'/ €>l -
- "- t I il-l I -r'
l l '- c' r
= rtorrt"il,r.
1 -

i'
d lfu

E
}1 Maximise- M a x i m i s e!
BEAM It p

^ 5Fl3 3Fl
D = :::---:" ''Y -
JIEWI- 4 *t.

-22,T>i:;io"'".
K\, rl;I\r : t.l - tl
\ 3 2 6 1 tr t
3Fl'w 1l rr
4 l\ ;i'

PLATE
f-$/' E "
M a x r m i s -e
p
M a x i m l s ed
I

E - Y o u n g s m o d u l u s ; ( t v = Y i e l d s t r e n g t h ;t ) = D e n s r t y

Fig.15.7.The combination u hichmaximise


of properties rltio andthestrength-to-weight
thestiffness-to-weight
ratrr).for variousloadinl'gconlctncs.

d e f e c t i o nf o r a g i v e nw c i g h l i s t h i . l tm a d eo f a m a t e r i a lw i t h a m a x i m u m E / p ( t i e si n t en s i o n) .
t
E I : / p ( b c a m i n b e n d i n g )o r E t l p ( p l a t ei n b e n d i n g ) .
W h e n E / p i s t h c i m p t ' r r t a n tp a r a m e t e r , t h e r e i s n o t h i n g t o c h o o s e b e t w e e n s t c c l .
a l u m i n i u m o r f i b r e g l a s s( T a b l e 2 5 . 2 ) . B u t w h e n E r l r / p i s c o n t r o l l i n g ,a l u m i n i u m i s b e t t e r
r h a n s r e e l :t h a t i s w h y i t i s t h e p r i n c i p a l a i r f r a m e m a t e r i a l . F i b r e g l a s si s n o t s i g n i f i c a n t l y
b e t t e r . O n l y C F R P a n d K F R P o f f e r a r e a l a d v a n t a g e .a n d o n e t h a t i s n o w e x p l o i t e d
e x t e n s i v e l yi n a i r c r a f t s t r u c t u r e s T. h i s a d v a n t a g ep e r s i s t sw h e n E l ' ' l l p i s t h e d e t e r m i n i n g
quantity-and for this reason b o t h C F R P a n d K F R P f i n d p a r t i c u l a ra p p l i c a t i o ni n f l o o r
p a n c l sa n d l a r g el o a d - b c a r i n gs u r f a c e sl i k e f l a p sa n d t a i l p l a n e s .
I n s o m e a p p l i c a t i o n si t i s s t r e n g t h .n o t s t i f f n c s s t. h a t m a t t e r s .F i g u r e2 5 . 7s h o w st h a t t h e
c o m p o n e n tw i t h t h c g r c i l t e s ts t r e n g t hf o r a g i v e nw e i g h t i s t h a t m a d e o f t h e m a t e r i a lw i t h a
m a x i m u m r r , / p ( t i c s i n t c n s i o n ) . r r ; ' r l p l b e a m s i n b e n d i n g ) o r o l . ' 2 l p( p l a t e si n b e n d i n g ) .
E v e n w h e n c , l p i s t h e i m p o r t a n t p i l r a m e t e r .c o m p o s i t e sa r e b e t t e r t h a n m e t a l s ( T a b l c
2 5 . 2 ) .a n d t h e a d v a n t a g eg r o w sw h c n o | l l p o r o l . ' 2 l pi s d o m i n a n t .
D c s p i t e t h e h i g h c o s t o f c o m p o s i t e s t. h e w e i g h t - s a v i n gt h e y p e r m i t i s s o g r e a t t h a t t h e i r
u s e i n t r a i n s . t r u c k s a n d c v e n c a r s i s n o w c x t c n s i v e .B u t . a s t h i s c h a p t e r i l l u s t r a t e s .t h e
e n g i n e e rn e c d s t o u n d c r s t a n dt h c m a t e r i a l a n d t h e w a y i t w i l l b e l o a d e d i n o r d e r t o u s e
c o m p o s i t c sc f f c c t i v c l y .
THE PHYSICAI- ']ASIS OF YOI.-ING'S I\IODUT-I'JS
59

stiffened in this way are:


stiller, material. Good examples of materials
(a)GFRP-glass-fibre-reinforcedpolymers'wherethepolymerisstiffenedorrein-
forced by long fibres of soda glass;
is achieved
(b) CFRP-carbon-fibre-reinforced polymers' where the reinforcement
with fibres of graPhite;
(c) BFRP-boron-fibre-reinforcedpolymers,usrngboron fibresas stiffening;
(cl) Fru.eo PoLYMERS-polymersinto which glasspowder or silica flour has been
mixed to stiffen them:
(e)Wooo-anaturalcompositeoflignin(anamorphouspolymer)stiffenedwith
fibres of cellulose.
can have moduli much
The bar-chart of moduli (Fig. 3.5) shows that composites
that they can be uery anisotropic:
higher than those of their matrices. And it also shows
measuredparallel to the fibres. is about 10 GN m-2:
tor example. the modulus of wood,
at right anglesto this' it is less than 1 GN m-2'
a fibre-reinforced composite'
There is a very simple way to estimate the modulus of
a volume fraction V' of fibres' parallel to the
Supposewe stress a composiie, containing
the strains in the fibres and the
fibres (see Fig. 6.3(a)). It is natural to assume that
by the composite is
matrix are equal. Then the stress carried
o : Vsol + (1- Vy)o_
= ElVsen+ E*(1 - Vs)e^.

(o)

T S t r o i nc " = f
_l-u e q u o li n f i b r e s
(f )ond motrix
(m)

I
I
i

S t r e s se q u o l I n
m
fibres(f)ond
m o t r i x( m )
f

t
o

(b) minimum modulus


Fig. fr.3. A fibre-reinforced composite loaded so as to g i v e ( a ) m a x i m u m m o d u l u s '
60 ENGINEERING MATERIAIS

But since E.o-po"it. : cl en, we find

E.o-po.i,"= VrQ + (1- Vr)E-. (6.8)


Obviously this gives us an upper estimate for the modulus of our fibre-reinforced
composite. The modulus cannot be greater than this value.
How is it that the modulus can be less? Suppose we had loaded the composite (Fig.
6.3(b)) in the opposite way, at right angles to the fibres? It now becomes much more
reasonable to assume that the srresses.not the strains, in the two components are equal.
If this is so, then the total nominal strain e. is the weighted sum of the individual
strains:

+ (1 - Vp)e._
en: Vsens
Vp rl-%\
:---+l ' \ E_^ l o .
Ef /
The modulus, as before, is cyle^ so that

c o m p o s_r t' e' :l rjl v\ 4f*, 0 _ % ) jl


tE (, 6, .^9 )
u_
Although it is not obvious, this is a lorver limit for the modulus-it cannot be less than
this.
The two estimates,if plotted, look as shown in Fig. 6.4. This explains why fibre-
reinforced composites like wood and GFRP are so stiff along the reinforced direction,
and yet so floppy at right angles to the direction of reinforcement, i.e. why they are so
anisotropic.
To conclude, we estimate the moduli of composites in which the matrix is
stiffened by (roughly spherical) particles rather than by continuous fbres. The theory is.
as one might imagine, more difficult than for fibre-reinforced composites; and is too
advanced to talk about here. But it turns out that the moduli of these so-called
particulate composites lie quite close to the lower value for fibre-reinforced composites.
as shown in Fig. 6.4. Now, it is much cheaper to mix sand into a polymer than to
carefully align specially produced glass fibres in the same polymer. Thus the modest

E "o.*"',.

(Porticulole
upper eslrmole composites)

o u r '

Fig. 6.-1. Composite modulus for various volume fractions of stiffener.


THE PHYSICAL BASIS OF YOUNG'S I\'IODULUS 61

while. Naturally
increase in stiffness that adding particles gives is economically worth
particulate composite is isofropic, rather than anisofropic as would be the
the resulting
composites; and this, too, can be an advantage' These
case for the fibre-reinforced
and moulded by normal methods (most fibre-composites
filled polymers can be formed
recent models of cars
.unnotl and so are cheap to fabricate. They are appearing in very
as bumpers, grilles, and protective trim (filled polypropylene is the commonest)'

SummarY

The moduli of metals, ceramics and glassy polymers below T6 reflect the stiffness of
leathers'
the bonds which link the atoms. Glasses and glassy polymers above T6 are
rubbers or viscous liquids, and have much lower moduli. Composites have moduli
which are a weighted average of those of their components'

Further reading

A. H. Cottrell, The MechanicalProperties of Maner, Wiley, 1964' Chap' 4'


C. Kittel. lntroductionro Solid SrarePhysics,4th edition, Wiley, 1971, Chaps.3 and 4 (for metals and
ceramlcs).
I. M. Ward, Mechanical Propertiesof solid Polymers,wiley, 1971, Chap. 3 (for polymers).