Effect of Prolonged Ultraviolet Radiation Exposure on the Blast Response of Fiber Reinforced Composite Plates

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An experimental study with corresponding numerical simulations was conducted to evaluate the blast response of composite plates after prolonged exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Two composite materials were used in this study, namely carbon fiber/epoxy and glass fiber/vinyl ester. The composite materials consisted of four unidirectional fiber plies oriented in a [± 45°]s layup. The plates were placed in a QUV Accelerated Weathering Tester for 500 h of exposure on each face, totaling 1000 h of ultraviolet radiation exposure, equivalent to 2.5 MJ/m2 of energy. The QUV Accelerated Weathering Tester was equipped with eight UVA-340 lamps to provide real service life exposure conditions. Material characterization experiments were performed on virgin specimens, as well as specimens exposed to ultraviolet radiation for 1000 h to determine its effect on the mechanical properties of the composites. Blast experiments were conducted on the composite plates to investigate the dynamic response before and after exposure to ultraviolet radiation. The plates were clamped on all edges and subjected to an air blast using a shock tube apparatus. Three-dimensional digital image correlation was coupled with high-speed photography to obtain full-field displacements of the specimens during blast loading. Furthermore, three piezoelectric pressure transducers were mounted on the shock tube apparatus and utilized to measure the pressure history of the shock wave loading. The quasi-static material characterization showed that the tensile modulus E1 had minimal change after exposure to ultraviolet radiation for 1000 h. However, matrix-dominated properties such as the in-plane shear modulus G12 increased after exposure to ultraviolet light for both the carbon and glass fiber composites, which resulted in lower out-of-plane displacements during blast loading. For the carbon fiber plates, the forced vibration frequency induced by the transverse blast load was higher in plates exposed to ultraviolet radiation when compared to virgin specimens. However, for the glass fiber plates exposed to ultraviolet radiation, the forced vibration frequency decreased when compared to virgin specimens. Finally, the finite element simulations were in good agreement with the experimental results. The simulations revealed that the glass fiber plates exposed to ultraviolet radiation had higher failure strains at the boundary than virgin specimens, despite having higher stiffness. A parametric study in which higher loading was simulated also showed that the glass fiber plates experienced more damage after 1000 h of ultraviolet radiation exposure.

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Journal of Materials Engineering and Performance