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# Statement of Hypothesis: For a 4.

5 x 1 strip of 8-ply composite laminate (acting as a cantilever beam) subject to a combined mass loading of 365 g (weight and crossbar) at the tip and a [27/27/27/27]_S layup design, we theorize a maximum beam deflection of 5.772 mm and a maximum angle of twist of 3.178.

Pre-Lab Evaluation: Differences In Conceptual Approach - For any given laboratory experiment, a team or individual must filter through a myriad of conceptual approaches before the most efficient and robust method is found --- what science would describe as the design phase. For this particular experiment, the objective of the design phase is to fabricate a composite laminate that will produce the maximum amount of twist when subjected to a pure bending load. When performing all of the calculations necessary in finding the structural properties of a given composite laminate, there are usually many complex and meticulous processes that must be performed. Quite often, these processes involve large matrices and laborious arithmetic however, within this experiment, we sped everything up by using a provided Interactive Laminate Calculator. This calculator, given the correct and necessary starting values, outputs the kappa matrix. With this matrix known, a few simple integrations are all that is needed to calculate both the composites bending deflection and angle of twist (assuming a unit load of $1$ N--m/m). Seeing as how both team members utilized the online calculator, this conceptual aspect is identical for both pre--labs and as such, has no variance to evaluate or compare. (To see these calculations in greater detail, see the Numerical Predictions/Calculations section below). However, there is one other aspect within the pre--lab that is subject to differing conceptual approaches through various team members. This aspect is the method by which to configure the best composite layup. Granted, the way in which to test each members methodology is the same (described above) however one member thought it best to angle all the plies in a single orientation while the other thought it best to incorporate multiple angle orientations. As you can see from Table 1, both approaches yielded different results. In conclusion, there are both differences and similarities within the conceptual approaches of both team members for this particular laboratory experiment. Differences in Calculations - Within this laboratory experiment, each team member is required to perform the calculations necessary to solve for the following composite laminate properties: bending deflection and angle of twist. Both properties are solved by using the online laminate calculator and simple integration techniques. After reviewing the calculations of both pre--labs, it is clear that both team members were at least able to correctly calculate and predict their own structural values. However, we still could not help but notice that one particular layup design stood out significantly when compared to the other. The following predicted ranges are a direct result of the differing layups: $0.858mm---5.772 mm$ for the maximum beam deflection and $0.332---3.178$ degrees for the maximum angle of twist. For a side--by--side comparison of all

the predicted pre--lab values, see Table 1 below. Sam Houser Composite Layup Maximum Bending Deflection Maximum Angle of Twist [0\30\60\90]_S 0.858mm Matthew Beyer [27\27\27\27]_S 5.632 mm Lab Prediction [27.5\27.5\27.5\27.5]_S 5.772 mm

0.332 deg

3.174 deg

3.178 deg

## Table 1 - Predicted values based on the composite layup

*For future reference, all calculations were done using the equations given in the Numerical Predictions
section.

Final Thoughts - After thorough comparison, it is clear that each team member did perform all of the necessary calculations correctly for their respective composite layup. Even with a design phase, there is still little need to filter through countless variables due to the fact that most material properties are provided by the university beforehand. Overall, the team acquired two pre--labs of differing strength. One is surprisingly compelling while the other is unsurprisingly weak in comparison. *The team quickly choose the above hypothesized values because those particular numbers are significantly better than that of the other pre--lab. Even though both members used differing methodologies, the team as a whole is still able to say with a fair amount of certainty that the predicted composite layup is a strong design in itself.
*It should also be noted (and can be seen in Table 1), that the actual layup created in laboratory two weeks ago is of a similar design as one used by a member of this team. Thus, all of the required predictions and calculations are provided in the following section.

*What was the basis for selecting the approach/calculations from one prelab over another?

Numerical Predictions/Calculations: The calculations we use for this lab come from Dr. Hollands website. On the course page there is a linked interactive laminar properties calculator. Due to the fact that the macro geometry of the composite is fixed, the factor we needed to optimize is $\kappa_t$. This came from drawing a few conclusions about laminates and then a small amount of guess and check. Knowing that having all the fibers parallel would provide optimal twisting, the number of layups was reduced to a small number which was then easy to guess and check. After we had the kappa matrix, Equations 3 and 4 were used to determine deflection and twist, respectively. These two Equations are the integrals of Equation 1 and Equation 2 respectively.

\begin{equation} k_x = d^2u_z/(dx^2) \end{equation} \begin{equation} k_t = -2*d^2(u_z)/(dxdy) \end{equation} \begin{equation} \delta = (1/2)*k_x*x^2 \end{equation} \begin{equation} \phi = k_t*x/(-2) \end{equation}

The integral with respect to x was taken twice in order to determine the deflection. At the location $x == 0$, both the slope and the deflection are assumed to be 0 as well, leaving the final form provided in equation 2. The twist equation was determined by making a substitution of $\phi = d^2u/d(x)^2$. The equation was integrated once in order to yield the resulting equation 3. All calculations were done using SI units.

Lab Actions: Fabrication First review and follow all laboratory safety rules prior to any handiwork Remove the prepreg carbon fiber from the freezer and place it on the stand Cut out eight plies at the correct orientation(s) using an X-ACTO knife Take care not to contaminate the fibers with your bare hands or other debris All plies should be cut out in roughly 8 x 8 squares Carefully assemble the plies one at a time Remove the backing of each ply before its addition to the layup Ensure there are no air bubbles by rolling each ply flat after it is applied Assemble the proper sequence of bleeder plies and backing The TA must verify Create the vacuum bag assembly using the provided double-sided tape and material The TA will help and verify vacuum bag assembly once completed The layup will be cured in the press after lab hours

Testing (2nd week) Review and follow all laboratory safety rules prior to any handiwork

Fine carbon splinters may be present, especially after cutting so handle only with leather gloves Take care not to get splinters on your clothing or in your eyes Cut a 1 wide strip of the laminate using the diamond saw Place the laminate in the cantilever test stand Attach a crossbar (70 g) perpendicular to the composites axial direction with adhesive putty Measure and record all unloaded conditions Effective length Base height above the table Initial displacement Initial angle of twist Apply the 295 g mass loading at the center of the strips 1 width Measure the displacement and angle of twist Record displacements for both ends of the crossbar with respect to the table Compare these values with your predictions You might want to recalculate your predictions based on measured layer thickness Arm Length 12 in Arm Mass 70 g Weight Mass 295 g Unloaded Height 7 in

## Table 3 - Test Set--up

Lab Measurements (Results): Loading Front Right Height 7 in 7 3/16 in Front Left Height 6 in 4 in Front Height 6 13/16 5 25/32 Back Right Height N/A 7 in Back Left Height N/A 4 in Back Height N/A 6 3/16

## Table 5 - Percent Error

Evaluation/Analysis: Sources of Error Measurement tools Placement of the weight on the arms Mass of arms not taken into account Torsion of arms not taken into account Laminate angle The sources of error in this lab are too large to ignore without at least a few words. To begin with, all pre--lab calculations were done using a cantilever length of $6$ where, in reality the effective length was $4.5$. This problem was corrected after the lab, in the calculations used for this report, and therefore need not be analyzed further. The layup angle plays a key role in this labs error. Lab manufacturing processes are not of the quality that can guarantee a precise, consistent layup over multiple layers. A reasonably invisible layup angle error of $1$ degree in the outside layers produces an error of about $3.5\%$. If this error were constant throughout the material, this would produce a minimum of $14\%$ error. Unfortunately, it is not that simple because the error produced is largely affected by which layer is in error, the number of other layers in error, and the total symmetry. Randomly selecting a small error in each layer of the layup and using the online calculator verifies that the error can easily exceed $20\%$ without considering noticeable angle differences. For angle errors around $5$ degrees, error can quickly exceed $30\%$. The list of errors continues as the manufacturing process is further examined. The process of creating the specimens used in lab cannot be expected to be perfect. This creates inherent errors that cant always be accounted for. An example would be the possibility of dust or particles to fall between layers before bonding. This imperfections in the layup would change the stress fields as well as weakening the bonds holding the whole thing together. A complete analysis of this is beyond the scope of this report. So far this analysis has assumed symmetry, but this is really a very unrealistic assumption. Just considering the previous argument about small angle errors, it follows that the angle errors are only likely to increase. Additive errors produce $30-60\%$ total error, but cannot be precisely calculated online, due to program limitations. Another notable source of error comes from the boundary conditions. The hypothesis calculations assume that there is no angle of deflection at the fixed end of the beam. This produces simplified, one term equations where some terms of integration become zero due to the assumption. Without the zero slope boundary condition, assuming a small initial slope of $1$ degree produces an initial, non bending constant deflection of $0.0785$ to be added into integral equation for an error of nearly $80\%$ all else being equal. A slope of just a half a degree creates nearly $60\%$ error. Neither of these above slopes would be likely to be noticed in the lab setting and therefore can only be accounted for in the error if no approximation adjustment is made. Finally, the hypothesis calculations assume pure bending and twisting. They do not take into account the coupling between the two.

Conclusions: The final composite was chosen almost as default. There were few proposed designs from the groups attending lab: $[27.5/27.5/27.5/27.5]_S$ and $[0/30/60/90]_S$. The design with parallel fibers had a significantly higher $k_t$ as the fibers would not interfere with each other. Because most people used the laminar calculator described in class by Dr. Holland, we were able to quantitatively compare curvature coefficients. The criteria for best coefficient was the largest coefficient because we were looking to maximize the angle of twist. You can see in Table ~\ref{table:error} that there were many errors associated with the selected twist and deflection calculations. The two areas error were introduced include fabrication errors and assumptions with equations. These errors were talked about in the previous section. The hypothesized results could be improved for future tests by reducing the assumptions and choosing test conditions which better match the experiment. The fabrication also needs some work as the fiber angles had very little precision. Instead of using a protractor which is accurate within plus or minus $1$ degree a ruler could be used in conjunction with simple trigonometry. Also a straight edge should be used to square prepreg sheets so the fibers are aligned.

List of References:

Holland, Steven. Composite Laminate: Layup Design and Testing. Ames, IA: $2012. <thermal.cnde.iastate.edu/aere321l/laboratories/Lab\%208\%20-\%20CompositeLaminate.pdf>$.