A study of the effect of strain rate and temperature on the characteristics of quasi-unidirectional natural fibre reinforced composites

O.S. David-West, W.M. Banks, R.A. Pethrick

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12 Citations (Scopus)
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The responses of quasi-unidirectional vegetable fibres (sisal and flax) - styrene polyester matrix composites under 6J nominal strike energy at different sample temperatures and at higher impact energies of 9J and 12J for samples at room temperature have been studied and indentation properties realized from static loading at different crosshead displacement speeds. The findings are explained in terms of the impact characteristics. At temperatures above ambient there were changes in the impact characteristics. The drop impact tests were carried out on samples (70mm x 70mm x 5mm) at an ambient temperature of 180C and elevated temperatures of 400C, 600C, 800C and 1000C using an instrumented drop tester with a 12.1 mm diameter hemispheric tup and the load history and energy profile were obtained. The actual damage response depends on many intrinsic and extrinsic factors, including the thickness of the laminate, the exact stacking sequence, the shape and kinetic energy of the impactor and the degree to which the laminate is supported against bending. The examination of the impact and post impact characteristics at elevated temperatures revealed a plastic mode of failure and the performance was assessed in terms of contact time, post impact displacement and total energy. Composites are generally brittle in nature and respond elastically with little or no plastic deformation, but this is not the case for natural fibre - styrene polyester matrix composites especially at high temperatures as there exists some degree of plasticity seen in the after impact state of the samples. Low energy impact (6J) results in cracking of the matrix leading to reduction in the strength of the composite. But higher energy impact strikes produce cracking of the matrix and splintering of the fibres. From the load - indentation curves average power coefficients of 3.6 and 15.4 were obtained for sisal and flax composites respectively as against 1.5 for the special Hertz contact of two elastic bodies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-148
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part L: Journal of Materials: Design and Applications
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011


  • composites
  • natural fibres
  • loading rate
  • contact indentation
  • mayer's law
  • dynamic loading
  • temperature effect
  • contact time
  • total energy
  • post impact displacement


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