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FLAx REinforced Aluminium (FLARE): A bio-based Fibre Metal Laminate alternative combining impact resistance and vibration damping

  • Alcaraz, Mathilde (author)
Publication Date
Sep 21, 2023
TU Delft Repository
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Fibre metal laminates (FML) were initially conceived as a hybrid material, aiming to create synergy between the impact resistance of metals and excellent fatigue resistance of fibre reinforced polymers. The purpose of this approach was to overcome the limitations of single-material structures. However, despite its considerable promise, the use of the FML concept has primarily been confined to aerospace applications and heavily relies on synthetic fibres that carry significant environmental implications. Hence, given the growing concerns about climate change and the challenges posed by recycling glass fibre composites, a new generation of FMLs with a reduced carbon footprint should be envisaged. <br/><br/>Research on flax fibre composites reveals convincing mechanical properties and remarkable damping capacities. However, the broader adoption of these composites remains restricted primarily due to issues related to low impact resistance, moisture absorption and flammability concerns. The FML concept presents a viable solution to surmount these constraints, consequently facilitating the integration of these materials into primary structures. Hence, the research endeavour aimed to attain comprehensive insights into FLAx REinforced aluminium (FLARE), particularly focusing on its impact resistance and vibration damping capabilities, which are believed to be the principal benefits of this hybrid material. <br/><br/>The research goal was divided into three distinct research tasks: conducting experimental analyses to characterise the damping behaviour of FLARE, evaluating the impact resistance through experimental means, and validating predictive tools to offer initial insights into the design principles governing such a FML. FLARE, along with flax fibre reinforced epoxy (FFRE) and GLARE specimens, were manufactured using wet layup combined with vacuum bagging techniques. <br/><br/>First, tensile tests were conducted to validate the applicability of the metal volume fraction (MVF) approach in predicting the mechanical properties of FLARE. Intriguingly, the well-known non-linear behaviour exhibited by flax was not observed in the case of FLARE. The results revealed that while the MVF method provided a satisfactory approximation, it was the "inelastic" modulus of FFRE that predominantly contributed to the stiffness of FLARE.<br/><br/>Dynamic mechanical analysis and vibration beam tests were carried out to assess the influence of incorporating metallic layers on the vibration damping characteristics of flax fibre composites. The investigation revealed that the metallic layer predominantly governs the damping behaviour of the FML. Notably, an inverse rule of mixture emerged as the most effective means of approximating its loss factor. <br/><br/>Low-velocity impact tests were conducted to gain insights into the impact response of FLARE in comparison to conventional FMLs. The analysis indicated that the aluminium layers play a significant role in energy absorption, whereas the composite strength emerges as the critical factor influencing impact resistance. A quasi-static analytical model was also assessed, offering an initial estimation of the impact response, yet it warrants further refinement.<br/><br/>In conclusion, the FML concept holds promise for FLARE, but its application requires a novel approach compared to previous methods, to render FLARE viable for practical real-world applications. / Aerospace Engineering

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