Design of Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymers for Use in Heavy Equipment Industry

Kaley Camber, “Design of Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymers for Use in Heavy Equipment Industry”
Mentor: Rani Elhajjar, Civil & Environmental Engineering

Composite material systems are used as efficient secondary structures across several industries in various engineering applications due to the desirable properties of high strength, high stiffness, and low density. The implementation of composite material in the heavy mobile equipment industry would allow for uses of heavy equipment to be used in new environments requiring lighter weight machinery; for example, implementation of composites in mining structures would entertain the possibility of using the structures in space to mine on asteroids and other terrestrial bodies. Testing was conducted to determine the optimal construction of Aluminum honeycomb sandwich composites to obtain various strengths and properties. Sandwich composites consisting of aluminum honeycomb core and carbon fiber reinforced plastic face sheets were created and tested to determine mechanical properties needed to numerically model limit states. A variety of combinations of honeycomb cell size and carbon fiber plie count and direction were tested to study the optimal construction for various applications. The composite structures were created in the UW-Milwaukee Composite Testing laboratory. Aluminum honeycomb samples were cut to size and cured between a specified layup of carbon fiber sheets. Samples were then tested to material failure, and the data was analyzed to create material models. Testing remains in progress; the conclusion of this project will result in models and recommendations to be used in choosing and constructing Honeycomb Aluminum sandwich composites for heavy machinery applications.

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