Ali Amiri

Date of Award

January 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Matthew N. Cavalli


Carbon fiber reinforced polymers (CFRP) have become an increasingly notable material for use in structural engineering applications. Some of their advantages include high strength –to–weight ratio, high stiffness-to-weight ratio, and good moldability. Prediction of the fatigue life of composite laminates has been the subject of various studies due to the cyclic loading experienced in many applications. Both theoretical studies and experimental tests have been performed to estimate the endurance limit and fatigue life of composite plates. One of the main methods to predict fatigue life is the four–point bending test. In most previous works, the tests have been done in one direction (load ratio, R, > 0). In the current work, we have designed and manufactured a special fixture to perform a fully–reversed bending test (R = −1). Static four–point bending tests were carried out on three (0°/90°)15 and (± 45°)15 samples to measure the mechanical properties of CFRP. Testing was displacement–controlled at the rate of 10 mm/min until failure. In (0°/90°)15 samples, all failed by cracking/buckling on the compressive side of the sample. While in (± 45°)15 all three tests, no visual fracture or failure of the samples was observed. 3.4 times higher stresses were reached during four–point static bending test of (0° /90°)15 samples compared to (± 45°) 15 Same trend was seen in literature for similar tests. Four–point bending fatigue tests were carried out on (0° /90°) 15 sample with stress ratio, R = −1 and frequency of 5 Hz. Applied maximum stresses were approximately 45%, 56%, 67%, 72% and 76% of the measured yield stress for (0° /90°) 15 samples. There was visible cracking through the thickness of the samples. The expected downward trend in fatigue life with increasing maximum applied stress was observed in S–N curves of samples. There appears to be a threshold for ‘infinite ’ life, defined as 1.7 million cycles in the current work, at a maximum stress of about 200 MPa. The decay in flexural modulus of the beam as it goes under cyclic loading was calculated and it was seen that flexural modulus shows an exponential decay which can be expressed as: E = E0eAN. Four–point bending fatigue tests were carried out on three (±45°)15 samples with stress ratio, R = −1 and frequency of 5 Hz. Maximum applied stress was 85% of the measured yield stress of (±45°)15 samples. None of the samples failed, nor any sign of crack was seen. Tests were stopped once the number of cycles passed 1·7×106. In general, current study provided additional insight into the fatigue and static behavior of polymer composites and effect of fiber orientation in their mechanical behavior.