Effects of fiber and interphase on matrix-initiated transverse failure in polymer composites
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Failure initiation in polymer-matrix composites loaded transverse to the fibers is investigated by a numerical parametric study where the effects of constituent properties, interphase properties and thickness are examined. Failure initiation in the matrix only is studied, interfacial debonding not being considered. Two modes of failure - yielding and cavitation-induced brittle failure - are examined. A criterion for the cavitation-induced brittle failure has been proposed previously and failure prediction based on this criterion was found to agree with experimental data for a glass-fiber-reinforced epoxy. The present study shows that the elastic modulus of fibers has a large effect on the stress and strain to failure initiation. A rubbery interphase material is found in most cases to have a beneficial effect. The site at which failure initiates and the governing mode of failure initiation are also affected by the fiber modulus and the interphase properties. 1996 Elsevier Science Limited.