Doctor of Philosophy
Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering
Aerospace structures are increasingly utilizing advanced composites because of their high specific modulus and specific strength. While the introduction of these material systems can dramatically decrease weight, they pose unique certification challenges, often requiring extensive experimental testing in each stage of the design cycle. The expensive and time-consuming nature of experimental testing necessitates the advancement of simulation methodologies to both aid in the certification process and assist in the exploration of the microstructure design space.
Peridynamic (PD) theory, originating from Sandia National Lab’s in the early 2000’s, is a nonlocal continuum-based method that reformulates the equation of motion into an integral equivalent form. The integral form, on which the theory is based, is well suited to explore discontinuity rich phenomena such as damage and material failure.
This dissertation develops PD-based simulation approaches to investigate two polymer based composite material systems of different maturity: carbon fiber and carbon nanotube (CNT) yarn. For carbon fiber reinforced composites, simulation approaches were developed to predict damage resulting from low-velocity impact, an important part of the certification process because often damage associated with this loading goes undetected leading to premature structural failure. In contrast to the more established carbon fiber, CNT yarn is a promising constituent material still very much in the developmental process. With this in mind, PD simulation approaches were developed with a different objective, which was to systematically explore microstructure property relationships, providing early feedback in the material design process.
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