Matrix Cracking in Fiber-Reinforced Composite Materials

[+] Author and Article Information
H. A. Luo

Department of Civil Engineering, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44106

Y. Chen

Department of Mechanics and Materials Science, Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ 08854

J. Appl. Mech 58(3), 846-848 (Sep 01, 1991) (3 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2897274 History: Received May 09, 1989; Revised May 08, 1990; Online March 31, 2008


Matrix cracking is a major pattern of the failure of composite materials. A crack can form in the matrix during manufacturing, or be produced during loading. Erdogan, Gupta, and Ratwani (1974) first considered the interaction between an isolated circular inclusion and a line crack embedded in infinite matrix. As commented by Erdogan et al., their model is applicable to the composite materials which contain sparsely distributed inclusions. For composites filled with finite concentration of inclusions, it is commonly understood that the stress and strain fields near the crack depend considerably on the microstructure around it. One notable simplified model is the so-called three-phase model which was introduced by Christensen and Lo (1979). The three-phase model considers that in the immediate neighborhood of the inclusion there is a layer of matrix material, but at certain distance the heterogeneous medium can be substituted by a homogeneous medium with the equivalent properties of the composite. Thus, for the problems of which the interest is in the field near the inclusion, it can reasonably be accepted as a good model. The two-dimensional version of the three-phase model consists of three concentric cylindrical layers with the outer one, labeled by 3, extended to infinity. The external radii a and b of the inner and intermediate phases, labeled by 1 and 2, respectively, are related by (a/b) 2 =c , where c is the volume fraction of the fiber in composite.

Copyright © 1991 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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