Sandeep Chava

Date of Award


Access Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Dr. Sirish Namilae

First Committee Member

Dr. Daewon Kim

Second Committee Member

Dr. Habib Eslami


Carbon fiber prepreg composites are utilized successfully as structural materials for different lightweight aerospace applications. Delamination is a critical failure mode in these composite materials. As composite plies separate from each other, the composite loses some of its ability for supporting expected loads. Therefore, detection of delamination at right time is a foremost significance. This study presents a new way for detecting delamination in composite plates using piezoresistive nanocomposites. This new procedure is setup and studied through both experimental and computational investigations. In this research, nanocomposites with 5% coarse graphene platelets are fabricated for detecting delamination. 8-ply carbon fiber prepreg composite samples are fabricated by placing a Teflon film between layers of prepreg. Piezoresistive nanocomposites are attached on top of prepreg laminate samples using epoxy resin. The change in electrical resistivity of these nanocomposites due to the induced strain from flexural test (three point bend test) on delaminated and neat composite laminates are monitored to demonstrate the delamination detection and neat composite laminates are monitored to demonstrate the delamination detection method. A non-linear finite element model is developed using Abaqus software suite to compliment the mechanical testing. Virtual Crack Closure Technique (VCCT) is used to model a delamination in the composite sample. Experimental results and the simulations in this study indicate that piezoresistive nanocomposites can be used for detecting delamination in carbon fiber composite materials.