Dynamic tensile strength of organic fiber-reinforced epoxy micro-composites

S. Katz, E. Zaretsky, E. Grossman, H. D. Wagner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Outer surfaces of spacecraft in orbit are exposed to hypervelocity impact originating from micro-meteoroids and space debris. The structural composite materials are integral parts of the spacecraft envelope. We studied the impact response of structural micro-composites containing Kevlar 29, spectra 1000 and oxygen RF (Radio Frequency) plasma surface-treated spectra 1000 fibers of 27-μm diameter, embedded in 100-μm epoxy resin films, in a series of planar impact experiments. The composites were loaded by 50-μm aluminum and polycarbonate impactors having velocities ranging from 400 to 550 m/s. The velocity of the free surface of the composite samples was continuously monitored by VISAR (Velocity Interferometer System for Any Reflector). The dynamic tensile (spall) strength of the micro-composites was calculated on the basis of the recorded free surface velocity profiles. Correlations were found between the spall strength and the separately measured: (i) fiber/matrix interfacial adhesion, (ii) tensile strengths of the fibers, of the matrix and of the micro-composites, and (iii) internal residual stresses. The spall strength of surface-treated spectra fibers micro-composites was found to be lower than that of both pristine spectra fibers micro-composites, and the pure epoxy film. The epoxy film reinforced by Kevlar fibers was found to have the highest spall strength.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1250-1255
Number of pages6
JournalComposites Science and Technology
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2009


  • A. Polymer-matrix composites (PMCs)
  • B. Dynamic tensile strength
  • B. Interfacial strength
  • C. Residual stress
  • D. Raman spectroscopy


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