On the development of a damage tolerance plan for multifunctional composites Conference Paper uri icon


  • Damage tolerance concepts have widely been applied to traditional aerospace laminates and sandwich composite structures primarily focusing on stiffness and residual strength while also addressing the differences in damage mechanisms between metals and composites. As part of this work, the notion of damage tolerance will be extended to include relevant aspects of multifunctionality; such considerations have not been broadly treated in the literature. Multifunctional composites are being considered for use in manned air vehicles in order to meet stiffness and strength requirements, as well as to provide vibration/acoustic mitigation, thermal management, stealth, morphing capability, or other functions. Key elements in the development of a damage tolerance plan for multifunctional composites are addressed that account for loss of structural integrity as well as degradations in relevant aspects of multifunctionality associated with discrete source damage and in-service loadings. While the effect of in-service or discrete source damage on composite structural integrity is relatively well understood, the effect of damage on safety-of-flight aspects of multifunctionality remains to be explored. Two examples are presented in this study, including extension of damage tolerance concepts to hybrid composites for lightning strike protection and piezoelectric devices for vibration control, morphing, and structural health monitoring. A crucial consideration is for the case where loss of mission critical composite functionality occurs while structural integrity is preserved. These sorts of issues must be addressed if the full weight saving potential of multifunctional structural composites is to be eventually realized in manned air vehicles.

published proceedings

  • 27th Annual Technical Conference of the American Society for Composites 2012, Held Jointly with 15th Joint US-Japan Conference on Composite Materials and ASTM-D30 Meeting

author list (cited authors)

  • Ricks, T. M., Lacy, T. E., Bednarcyk, B. A., & Arnold, S. M.

complete list of authors

  • Ricks, TM||Lacy, TE||Bednarcyk, BA||Arnold, SM

publication date

  • December 2012