The Effect of Defects on the Fatigue Properties of Composite Panels. Phase 1: Fatigue Rig Design

Craig Bamber


This project incorporates the design process of a cyclic fatigue rig that is capable of fatigue testing multiple composite specimens containing defects, in a longitudinal tensile mode. Defects in composite structures are not very well understood for fatigue load cases and in order for the School of Engineering and Information Technology (SEIT) to better understand these cases, experimental analysis is required. In 2007, a fatigue rig design was developed where analysis will show that various errors and design factors led to the termination of this particular concept. A brief analysis of this designs termination is discussed, and the concept is then used as a benchmark tool within the design phase of this report.
Through a literature analysis, this project initially provides an understanding of the complexities of composite properties, defects that occur within composite panels, their relationship to fatigue properties, and the fatigue approach that is recommended for experimentation. This will justify the aim and scope of this project, provide an understanding of the fatigue testing rig required, and validate the purpose of this project, and future phases. The design phase of this project will be made up of Specifications Development and Quality Functional Deployment (QFD) to better understand the requirements of the design; Conceptual Generation, Evaluation and Selection; and Design Evaluation for Function and Performance to optimise the final concept. Within the scope of this thesis, the preliminary design will be at a stage where prototype rig construction can occur. This prototype construction will occur in ‘phase two’ of the overall project.

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