Analysis of the mechanical behavior of composite t-joints reinforced by one side stitching
Abstract T-joints stiffeners made from carbon/epoxy composites have been increasingly applied in aeronautical structures, however as majority of the carbon fiber reinforced structures, they have faced with delamination problems. Through-the-thickness reinforcements for laminate composites have been studied as manner to increase transversal strength, especially reducing delamination. In the present work, carbon/epoxy T-joints reinforced transversally by one side stitching (OSS) and molded on Resin Transfer Molding (RTM) process have been performed as well as the reference (unstitched T-joints). The stitching position were designed after analysis of the unstitched T-joints by means of strain field on Digital Image Correlation (DIC) under pull-off test to better improve the areas submitted to large strain. Also, the stitched samples were mechanically tested in pull-off mode and were analyzed during tests by in situ microscopy and post-failure on Scanning Electron Microscopy .The energy release was better contained in the stitched structures especially in the critical region (delta-fillet), due to crack bridging that improved the delamination toughness. Otherwise, the stitch pattern generated by OSS process changed the strain fields asymmetrically when analyzed on DIC during tests. The stitched T-joints showed greater ultimate strength (25%) and load recovery post ultimate strength (19%) in comparison to the reference.