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An experimental investigation through which the effects of low temperatures on the mechanical, fracture, impact, and dynamic properties of carbon- and E-glass-epoxy composite materials has been conducted. The objective of the study is to quantify the influence of temperatures from 20 °C down to −2 °C on the in-plane (tensile/compressive) and shear material properties, static and dynamic Mode-I fracture characteristics, impact/residual strength, and the storage and loss moduli for the materials considered. The low end of the temperature range considered in the study is associated with Arctic seawater as well as conditions found at extreme ocean depths (2 °C–4 °C). In the investigation, both carbon/epoxy and E-glass/epoxy laminates are evaluated as these materials are of keen interest to the marine and undersea vehicle community. The mechanical characterization of the laminates consists of controlled tension, compression, and short beam shear testing. The Mode-I fracture performance is quantified under both quasi-static and highly dynamic loading rates with additional flexure after impact strength characterization conducted through the use of a drop tower facility. Finally, dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) testing has been completed on each material to measure the storage and loss moduli of the carbon fiber- and E-glass fiber reinforced composites. The findings of the study show that nearly all characteristics of the mechanical performance of the laminates are both material and temperature dependent.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.