Manufacture, modelling and characterisation of novel composite tubes

UoM administered thesis: Phd

  • Authors:
  • Ikenna Agwubilo


This thesis primarily focused on the development of novel composite tubes by braiding. The objective was to use hierarchical scale technique, i.e., micro, meso and macro scales, with the transfer of information from one scale to another to develop novel braided composite tubes. This research was conducted and reported in three journal papers. The aim of the first paper was to predict plane elastic properties for E-glass/epoxy braided composite structures at different braid orientations, by analytical and finite element techniques. The lenticular shape has been used to describe the geometry of the tow. Modified lenticular geometric model was developed to improve an existing geometric model, in terms of tow parameters, thereafter, plane elastic properties from Chamis micromechanical model for E-glass fibre and epoxy matrix without any knockdown effects were used as benchmark to develop predictive models, namely; Lekhnitskii's methodology and braided unit cell meso-scale finite element model to account for the effects of tow geometry, undulations/crimp, cross-over and braid orientations on the plane elastic properties of E-glass/epoxy composite. The results showed agreement in trend between the predictive models, Chamis micromechanical model, and a similar existing model. However, the plane elastic properties were knocked down in predictive models by 30% in the E11 direction and 32% in the E22 direction, when compared with Chamis micro-mechanical model for largest ±65° braid angle, among the braid angles, considered. The aim of the second paper was to manufacture E-glass/epoxy braided tubes at different braid orientations by vacuum bag infusion technique, conduct internal pressure tests, and determine the hoop and axial moduli of the infused tubes. Lekhnitskii's methodology was also used to develop plane elastic moduli by experiment using microscopy results, and by calculation. The experimental elastic moduli of the infused tubes and the experimental elastic moduli from Lekhnitskii's methodology were used to compare the predictive elastic moduli for E-glass/epoxy braided structures by Chamis micro-mechanical model, and the braided unit cell meso-scale finite element model. The two were from another paper. Results showed a perfect agreement in trend between the experimental results and the predictive results. However, the values of the experimental results were close but lower than the predicted results. Optical microscopy was performed on braided tube cross-section to evaluate the level of crimp or undulation. This was done by the determination of tow centreline crimp angle and aspect ratio. Results show that when compared with the predicted crimp, there was an agreement in trend, although the experimental results were lower than the predicted. Also, the knockdown factor was evaluated and used to quantify the reduction in experimental elastic moduli when compared with the predicted. Results showed that the absences of crimp in the Chamis model caused a tremendous difference between it, other predicted models and the experiment results. The elastic moduli of Chamis were by far higher than all others, including other predictive models. The purpose of the third paper was to manufacture E-glass/epoxy braided tube at ±31°, ±45°, ±55°, ±65° braid orientations using vacuum bagging and resin infusion technique, to design and manufacture a rig for tube internal pressures experiment, to determine the hoop and axial stress performances of the tubes by internal pressure experiment, to compare experimental results with laminate analysis predictions to evaluate the effect of crimp on the internal pressure performance of the braided tubes. To use E-glass braided tow meso-scale unit cell finite element model to predict the tow critical stresses, and the optimum braided tube architecture, using tube hoop and axial failure stresses or strains. The tubes were manufactured and subjected to internal pressure test (2:1), to failure. Failure mode was by weeping and bursting. Hoop stress was twice the axial stress. The highest value of hoop stress was at the ±65° braid angle, higher than the hoop stresses at the ±31°, ±45°, and ±55 ° braid angles by 50%, 39%, and 28% respectively. Hoop stress increased with increase in braid angle. The experimental results were validated by laminate analysis predictions by Chamis micro-mechanical model and Lekhnitskii's methodology, and the trend of the laminate analysis prediction matched that of the experimental results. However, the predicted values were higher than the experimental results by 21%, 14%, 11%, 10% for the ±31°, ±45°, ±55°, ±65° braid angles for the Chamis micro-mechanical model and 5%, 7%, 7%, 5% for the ±31°, ±45°, ±55°, ±65 braid angles respectively for the Lekhnitskii's model, showing the severe effect of crimp in the experimental tube, mostly when compared with Chamis micro-mechanical model. Braided tow unit cell finite element model prediction, showed that tow axial stresses increased with increase in braid angle, while the tow transverse stresses decreased with increase in braid angle. The predictions showed that the tow critical stresses and the tube optimum braided architecture lie between the ±65° and 90° braid angles. The tow critical stresses are the stresses at which the tow decreasing transverse stress and the tow increasing axial stress causes the tube to fail.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date31 Dec 2016