The Out-of-Plane Compression Response of Woven Thermoplastic Composites: Effects of Strain Rates and Temperature
The dynamic mechanical response of high-performance thermoplastic composites over a wide range of strain rates is a challenging research topic for extreme environmental survivability in the field of aerospace engineering. This paper investigates the evolution of the dynamic properties of woven thermoplastic composites with strain rate and damage process at elevated temperatures. Out-of-plane dynamic-compression tests of glass-fiber (GF)- and carbon-fiber (CF)-reinforced polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) composites were performed using a split Hopkinson pressure bar (SHPB). Results showed that thermoplastic composites possess strain-rate strengthening effects and high-temperature weakening dependence. GF/PPS and CF/PPS composites had the same strain-rate sensitivity (SRS) below the threshold strain rate. The softening of the matrix at elevated temperatures decreased the modulus but had little effect on strength. Some empirical formulations, including strain-rate and temperature effects, are proposed for more accurately predicting the out-of-plane dynamic-compression behavior of thermoplastic composites. Lastly, the final failure of the specimens was examined by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) to explore potential failure mechanisms, such as fiber-bundle shear fracture at high strain rates and stretch break at elevated temperatures.