Ballistic impact response of carbon/epoxy tubes with variable nanosilica content

Aniruddh Vashisth, Charles E. Bakis, Charles R. Ruggeri, Todd C. Henry, Gary D. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Laminated fiber reinforced polymer composites are known for high specific strength and stiffness in the plane of lamination, yet relatively low out-of-plane impact damage tolerance due to matrix dominated interlaminar mechanical properties. A number of factors including the toughness of the matrix can influence the response of composites to impact. The objective of the current investigation is to evaluate the ballistic impact response of carbon/epoxy tubes with variable amounts of nanosilica particles added to the matrix as a toughening agent. Mass density, elastic modulus, glass transition temperature and Mode I fracture toughness of the matrix materials were measured. Tubes manufactured with these matrix materials were ballistically impacted using a round steel projectile aimed at normal incidence across the major diameter. After impact, the tubes were nondestructively inspected and subjected to mechanical tests to determine the residual shear strength in torsion. Increasing concentrations of nanosilica monotonically increased the modulus and fracture toughness of the matrix materials. Tubes with nanosilica had smaller impact damage area, higher residual shear strength, and higher energy absorbed per unit damage area versus control materials with no nanosilica. Overall, the addition of nanosilica improved the impact damage resistance and tolerance of carbon/epoxy tubes loaded in torsion, with minimal adverse effects on mass density and glass transition temperature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1589-1604
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Composite Materials
Issue number12
StatePublished - May 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Materials Chemistry


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