Low-Velocity, Multi-Hit Impact Performance of Basalt Fiber SC-15 Composites

Report No. ARL-TR-6134
Authors: Steven E. Boyd; Ryan P. Emerson; Travis A. Bogetti; David M. Spagnuolo
Date/Pages: September 2012; 32 pages
Abstract: A low-velocity, four-quadrant impact testing protocol is currently under development to evaluate the damage tolerance and durability of thick-section composite plates. With this protocol, multi-hit impact data is reduced to distinguish materials that are stiff and exhibit low rates of degradation during the four-hit test of each material specimen. This reduced data is displayed on a single Ashby-type chart, allowing composites of different matrix and reinforcement types to be compared and ranked. The present research focuses on the impact performance of two-dimensional (2-D) basalt fiber fabric compared to 2-D S2-glass fiber-fabric composites. Basalt fibers and fabrics are currently of interest because of their comparable mechanical properties to S2-glass, competitive cost (a price point between that of E-glass and S2-glass), and natural fire resistance. Basalt-fiber composites are touted as a competitive replacement in composite applications where carbon fiber and S2 glass are unwarranted. This research investigates the impact performance of two basalt fabrics, one manufactured by Martintek USA, LLC and one by BGF Industries, Inc. Sets of panels using 2-D basalt fabric infused with SC-15-toughened epoxy are subjected to four-quadrant impact under clamped and simply supported boundary conditions and are compared directly to panels manufactured with S2-glass fabric. Comparisons are drawn using the multi-hit protocol and damage areas measured using C-scan. The S2-glass composite slightly outperformed the basalt fiber composites in almost all metrics considered. The results also indicate that the BGF material outperforms the Martintek material.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: September 1, 2012