Mechanics of Deformation and Fracture of Soft Fiber Reinforced Composites
Authors:Brian Ramirez, Michael Rauls
Mentor:Guruswami Ravichandran, John E. Goode, Jr. Professor of Aerospace and Professor Mechanical Engineering, California Institute of Technology
The demand for lightweight materials which can undergo large amounts of deformation and remain in the elastic region in deployable space structures and tissue engineering, have led to an increase usage of soft fiber reinforced composites. This provides the motivation for understanding the mechanical behavior of such composites. In the present work, tensile experiments were conducted on glass fiber/polydimethylsiloxane (GF-PDMS) composites to study their deformation and fracture response. Digital image correlation (DIC) technique was used to measure the full field displacements around holes in the composite. The experiments together with micromechanical models are used to understand the mechanics of load transfer and failure mechanisms of soft matrix composites. The mechanics insights gained from this study can be used to design and analyze new generation of soft fiber reinforced composites for emerging novel applications.