Composite Testing

Variations of materials, layup techniques and process variations affect carbon fiber composite strength, so samples are tested to determine bulk properties. This video conveys testing in action. Figure 1 shows several strips after pulling to failure, and Figure 2 shows a strip in the tensile test instrument.

The strips after they are pulled apart.

Figure 1: The strips after they are pulled apart.

Metal tabs are placed on either end of the strips and they are pulled apart until they break (the force at which breakage occurs is measured).

Figure 2: Metal tabs are placed on either end of the strips and they are pulled apart until they break (the force at which breakage occurs is measured).

Squares of carbon fiber are cut before laying up

Figure 3: Squares of carbon fiber are cut before laying up

Squares of carbon fiber

Figure 4: Squares of carbon fiber

A resin is applied to the carbon fiber so that when it cures, it will harden

Figure 5: A resin is applied to the carbon fiber so that when it cures, it will harden

The carbon fiber squares (with resin applied) are put in a bin and wrapped in plastic.  A breathable fabric is placed between the carbon fiber and plastic and the air is sucked out with a vacuum.  The fabric prevents resin from getting stuck in the hose.  This is all put in an oven and baked to cure the resin.

Figure 6: The carbon fiber squares (with resin applied) are put in a bin and wrapped in plastic. A breathable fabric is placed between the carbon fiber and plastic and the air is sucked out with a vacuum. The fabric prevents resin from getting stuck in the hose. This is all put in an oven and baked to cure the resin.

The composite comes out of the oven cured, which means it is hard.  It is cut into thin strips with a saw.

Figure 7: The composite comes out of the oven cured, which means it is hard. It is cut into thin strips with a saw.

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