The theory of crash, bang, wallop

Impact on Composite Structures
November 6, 1998

This is one of the first books totally devoted to impact on composite structures. Composites have become of increasing importance in structures since the 1940s, and today many structural elements are manufactured from them, particularly in the aerospace industries.

It is a pity that this book does not contain a brief introduction to standard dynamic testing techniques, for example, the drop-weight test, gas guns and split-Hopkinson bars. Also a brief introduction to composite materials would have been helpful, despite the fact that the author specifies that the book is targeted at graduate students, researchers and practising engineers.

The initial chapters are concerned with contact, beam and shell theories and scaling. The author comes to the conclusion that it is not possible to scale damage. Two chapters concentrate on damage. Sections on failure modes and the evolution of damage are included. Part of the discussion concerns the area of delamination as a function of the initial kinetic energy of the indenter. Also discussed here is the orientation of delamination as a function of the initial composite structural geometry. There is a chapter on the impact of sandwich structures, which notes that fabrication techniques affect profoundly the impact resistance of sandwich panels. Improved construction is also discussed.

There is a valuable chapter on repairs of damaged composites. Particular concern is focused on the effects of damage on the load-carrying capacity of the composite component. A repair technique can be selected after considering several questions including: Is the repair to be permanent or not? Is the repair to be made in the field? Does the repair restore the load-carrying capacity of the component?

It should be noted that the book is concerned with fairly low-velocity impacts, for example, pebbles thrown up against structures and damage caused by tools dropped on to composites. Therefore, only impact velocities of a few to 300 meters per second are considered.

It is a pity that in a such a ground-breaking book, research on the subject by some others has been omitted, for example the published research of Lataillade and co-workers (LAMEF-ENSAM, Bordeaux ).

Despite these few drawbacks, this is an excellent book for any advanced student or researcher.

Bradley Dodd is a board member of Eurodymat, the European Association for the Promotion of Research into the Dynamic Behaviour of Materials.

Impact on Composite Structures

Author - Serge Abrate
ISBN - 0 521 47389 6
Publisher - Cambridge University Press
Price - £45.00
Pages - 289

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