Effect of through-thickness compression on in-plane tensile strength of glass/epoxy composites: experimental study

The effect of through-thickness compression on in-plane tensile strength of glass/epoxy composites with random microstructure was investigated experimentally. The studied composite laminates were man- ufactured with a self-regulating Resin Transfer Moulding device. Their mechanical behaviour was assessed in pure in-plane tensile and through-thickness compressive tests, followed by biaxial tests combining both loading modes; indenters with a radius ranging from 5 to 25 mm were used to impose a compressive mode. The obtained results demonstrate a nonlinear decreasing trend for the in-plane tensile strength under the growing through-thickness compressive stress. All the failed specimens showed catastrophic brittle failure with a specific fracture orientation that mainly exhibited a tensile mode of fibre fracture for smaller radii of indenters and a combination of matrix crack, fibre fracture and typical shear failure for larger radii.