Date of Award

12-2014

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering

Department

Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Dae Won Kim, Ph.D.

First Committee Member

Frank Radosta, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Jeff Brown, Ph.D.

Abstract

Structural health monitoring (SHM) has become indispensable for reducing maintenance costs and increasing the in-service capacity of a structure. The increased use of lightweight composite materials in aircraft structures drastically increased the effects of fatigue induced damage on their critical structural components and thus the necessity to predict the remaining life of those components. Damage prognosis, one of the least investigated fields in SHM, uses the current damage state of the system to forecast its future performance by estimating the expected loading environments. A successful damage prediction model requires the integration of technologies in areas like measurements, materials science, mechanics of materials, and probability theories, but most importantly the quantification of uncertainty in all these areas.

In this study, Affine Arithmetic is used as a method for incorporating the uncertainties due to the material properties into the fatigue life prognosis of composite plants subjected to cyclic compressive loadings. When loadings are compressive in nature, the composite plates undergo repeated buckling-unloading of the delaminated layer which induces mixed modes I and II states of stress at the tip of the delamination in the plates. The Kardomateas model-based prediction law is used to predict the growth of the delamination, while the integration of the effects of the uncertainties for modes I and II coefficients in the fatigue life prediction model is handled using Affine Arithmetic. The Mode I and Mode II interlaminar fracture toughness and fatigue characterization of the composite plates are first experimentally studied to obtain the material coefficients and fracture toughness, respectively. Next, these obtained coefficients are used in the Kardomateas law to predict the delamination lengths in the composite plates while using Affine Arithmetic to handle their uncertainties. At last, the fatigue characterization of the composite plates during compressive-buckling loadings in experimentally studied, and the delamination lengths are compared with the predicted values to check the performance of Affine Arithmetic as an uncertainty propagation tool.

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