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Research Papers

Improvement of Stiffness and Energy Absorption by Harnessing Hierarchical Interlocking in Brittle Polymer Blocks

[+] Author and Article Information
Muhammed Imam

Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics,
Michigan Technological University
Houghton, MI 49931
e-mail: mimam@mtu.edu

Julien Meaud

G.W.W. School of Mechanical Engineering,
Georgia Institute of Technology,
Atlanta, GA 30332
e-mail: julien.meaud@me.gatech.edu

Susanta Ghosh

Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics,
Michigan Technological University,
Houghton, MI 49931
e-mail: susantag@mtu.edu

Trisha Sain

Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics,
Michigan Technological University,
Houghton, MI 49931
e-mail: tsain@mtu.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Applied Mechanics Division of ASME for publication in the Journal of Applied Mechanics. Manuscript received October 5, 2018; final manuscript received January 4, 2019; published online March 5, 2019. Assoc. Editor: Junlan Wang.

J. Appl. Mech 86(5), 051007 (Mar 05, 2019) (11 pages) Paper No: JAM-18-1557; doi: 10.1115/1.4042567 History: Received October 05, 2018; Accepted January 04, 2019

The objective of the present work is to investigate the possibility of improving both stiffness and energy absorption in interlocking, architectured, brittle polymer blocks through hierarchical design. The interlocking mechanism allows load transfer between two different material blocks by means of contact at the mating surfaces. The contacting surfaces further act as weak interfaces that allow the polymer blocks to fail gradually under different loading conditions. Such controlled failure enhances the energy absorption of the polymer blocks but with a penalty in stiffness. Incorporating hierarchy in the form of another degree of interlocking at the weak interfaces improves stress transfer between contacting material blocks; thereby, improvement in terms of stiffness and energy absorption can be achieved. In the present work, the effects of hierarchy on the mechanical responses of a single interlocking geometry have been investigated systematically using finite element analysis (FEA) and results are validated with experiments. From finite element (FE) predictions and experiments, presence of two competing failure mechanisms have been observed in the interlock: the pullout of the interlock and brittle fracture of the polymer blocks. It is observed that the hierarchical interface improves the stiffness by restricting sliding between the contacting surfaces. However, such restriction can lead to premature fracture of the polymer blocks that eventually reduces energy absorption of the interlocking mechanism during pullout deformation. It is concluded that the combination of stiffness and energy absorption is optimal when fracture of the polymer blocks is delayed by allowing sufficient sliding at the interfaces.

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Figures

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Overview of the design of interlocking tabs; schematic representation of a single interlocking tab containing (a) one level of hierarchy and (b) two levels of hierarchy (zooming the top part only)

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Fig. 2

(a) A typical finite element mesh for N = 1 hierarchy (θ = 35 deg and D0/W = 0.50) and (b) zoomed view of the interlock

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Fig. 3

Uniaxial tensile testing on the 3D printed specimens

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Fig. 4

Normalized force–displacement curves of one level of hierarchy specimens (35 deg interlock): experiments and FEA results

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Fig. 5

(a) Pullout response prediction using FEA, (b) pullout response from experiment, (c) normalized stiffness comparison between FEA and experiment, (d) energy absorption comparison between FEA and experiment, considering interlocking angle as a variable. Error bars represent the range of the experimental measurements. (e) Comparison between FEA and experiment when θ = 30 deg.

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Fig. 6

Von Mises stress (MPa) plot: (a) at effective strain 0.27 for θ = 25 deg, (b) at effective strain 0.21 for θ = 30 deg, showing the failure of the interlock. (c) Equivalent plastic strain at effective strain 0.21 for θ = 30 deg, before the failure of the interlock.

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Fig. 7

One level of hierarchical specimen (θ = 30 deg) demonstrating brittle fracture

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Fig. 8

(a) Pullout curves from FEA, (b) pullout curves from experiments, (c) normalized stiffness comparison between FEA and experiment, (d) energy absorption comparison between FEA and experiment, considering relative width as a variable. Error bars represent the range of the experimental measurements. (e) Comparison between FEA and experiment for D0/W = 0.33.

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Fig. 9

X directional strain (LE11) plot for θ = 30 deg and D0/W = (a) 0.33, (b) 0.50, and (c) 0.87

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Fig. 10

Effects of w1/D1 on (a) pullout response, (b) energy absorption versus normalized stiffness map (FEM results)

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Fig. 11

Von Mises stress (MPa) plot at global strain (a) 0.10, (b) 0.11, and (c) 0.14

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Fig. 12

Effects of D1/D0 on (a) pullout response and (b) energy absorption versus normalized stiffness map (FEM results)

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Fig. 13

(a) Effects of w2/D0 on pullout response and (b) energy absorption versus normalized stiffness map (FEM results)

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Fig. 14

(a) Virgin and fractured N = 2 hierarchical specimen. (b) Experimental pullout curves for N = 2 hierarchical specimen. Comparison between N = 1 and N = 2 in terms of (c) stiffness and (d) energy absorption. Error bars represent SD of the experimental measurements. (e) Energy absorption versus normalized stiffness plot to show the comparison between FE and experiment.

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