n111676SE Academic Article uri icon


  • Damage in cryogenic composite fuel tanks induced during manufacturing and advanced by thermomechanical cycling can accelerate leakage of the propellant. Whether the leakage exceeds tolerable levels depends on many factors, including pressure gradients, microcrack density, other damage such as delamination, connectivity of the cracks, residual stresses from manufacture, service-induced stresses from thermal and mechanical loads, and composite lay-up. This article is concerned with the creation and the detection of damage in cryogenic composites due to thermomechanical loading. The first part deals with cryocycling (cycling between two temperatures) test procedures, that were developed to understand the damage produced in cryogenic composite laminates under thermomechanical loading. An apparatus was developed to thermomechanically cycle coupon test specimens under different thermomechanical loadings. IM7/977-2 and IM7/5250-4 graphite/epoxy cross-ply [902/0 2]S and angle-ply [0/-45/90/45/0/45090/-45/0]S laminates were tested using these systems. Ply-by-ply microcrack density was measured as a function of thermomechanical cycles. The second part of this article deals with effect of thermal gradients due to sudden exposure to a cryogenic temperature. The sudden exposure to cryogenic temperatures may have caused the microcracks, due to large temperature variations through the thickness and the resulting thermal stresses. In this work, an investigation of the sudden exposure to cryogenic temperatures is conducted experimentally with and without an insulating layer. 2013 Society of Plastics Engineers.

published proceedings

  • Polymer Composites

author list (cited authors)

  • Oh, B. T., Lagoudas, D. C., & Moon, S.

publication date

  • January 1, 2013 11:11 AM