Fatigue and Fracture of Fibre Composites
Supervisor: Dr Christophe Pinna

Aircraft manufacturers are now competing based on their aircraft's fuel efficiency due to the high cost of aviation fuel. As a result, in recent years, these manufacturers have turned more and more to the use of lightweight composites in their designs for almost every component of their aircraft. Resistance to fatigue has become an integral part of the modern design process of fibre composites and more research is therefore needed to better understand the damage mechanisms operating in these materials in order to efficiently predict their fatigue life.

This project will develop a novel approach aimed at generating a physically-based predictive model of the fatigue failure of carbon fibre reinforced plastic composites by combining state-of-the-art experimental testing facilities and novel modelling approaches. The world renowned fatigure testing facilities available at the University of Sheffield combined with micro-mechanical testing and Digital Image Correlation will be used for the experimental work to inform the development of the models. Simulation techniques based on the Cellular Automata Finite Element (CAFE) model pioneered in the Department will be explored.

Previous experience / requirements: Finite element modelling, Composites, Fracture mechanics
Contact: c.pinna@sheffield.ac.uk
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