MS Thesis Presentation by Matthew Hammond
Wednesday, August 10, 2005

(Dr. W.S. Johnson, Chair)

"Evaluation of the Crack Initiation and Crack Growth Characteristics in Hybrid Titanium Composite Laminates via In Situ Radiography"


Hybrid Titanium Composite Laminates (HTCL) have vast potential for future commercial aircraft development. In order for this potential to be properly utilized the HTCL's material properties must first be well understood and obtained through experimentation. Crack initiation and crack growth characteristics of HTCLs are dependent on the heat treatment of the embedded constituent titanium foil. While high strength titanium foils may delay crack initiation, there may be an adverse effect of unsuitable crack growth rates in the HTCLs. Literature has indicated that when properly designed, cracks in HTCLs can arrest due to fiber bridging mechanisms and other crack closure mechanisms. Traditional surface inspection techniques employed on facesheet laminate evaluations will not be able to properly monitor the internal crack growth and damage progression for the internal plies.

The main objective of the this joint Georgia Tech/Boeing research project was to determine and compare crack initiation and crack growth characteristics of different heat-treated -Ti 15-3 titanium foil embedded in HTCLs. Georgia Tech will utilize a unique capability of x-raying the internal foils of the HTCL specimen in a servo-hydraulic test frame while under load. The titanium foil in this study represented four different heat treatments that result in four increasing levels of strength and decreasing levels of elongation. Specifically, open-hole HTCL coupons were tested at four stress load levels under constant amplitude fatigue cycles to determine a-N curves for the HTCL layups evaluated. The layup evaluated was [45/0/-45/0/Ti/0/-45/0/45]. Crack growth rates were determined once the initiated crack was detected via radiographic exposure. Radiographic delamination analysis and thermoelastic stress analysis techniques were employed to determine additional damage mechanisms in the laminate. Analytical and finite element methods were utilized to determine ply stresses. Additionally, titanium foil properties will be determined via dog-bone coupons for each of the four heat treatment conditions.