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Composites Part B 158 (2019) 82–91

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Composites Part B
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/compositesb

Axial and lateral buckling analysis of fiber reinforced S-glass/epoxy T

composites containing nano-clay particles
Ömer Yavuz Bozkurta, Mehmet Bulutb,∗, Ahmet Erkliğa, Waleed Ahmed Faydha
Mechanical Engineering Department, Faculty of Engineering, Gaziantep University, Gaziantep, 27310, Turkey
Mechanical Engineering Department, Faculty of Engineering, Hakkari University, Hakkari, 30000, Turkey


Keywords: In the present study, lateral and axial buckling characteristics of the S-glass/epoxy composites were investigated
S-Glass/epoxy composites incorporating nano-clay (NC) particles within the common matrix of epoxy resin. Critical axial and lateral
Lateral and axial buckling buckling loads of the composite samples were experimentally determined for different weight contents of NC
Nano-clay particles (1, 1.5, 2 and 3 wt %). The effects of fiber orientation angles on critical buckling loads were investigated
Glass fiber
for both of axial and lateral buckling analyses, and it was shown that maximum axial and lateral buckling loads
Fiber orientation angle
were obtained with fiber orientation angle of [0°/90°] and [15°/-75°], respectively. In addition, influence of NC
particles on tensile and flexural properties were examined only for NC content of 1 wt %. It is concluded that
incorporation of NC particles by 1 wt % in the composites resulted in 8.6% improvement axial buckling load, and
further increasing NC content did not significantly effects on axial and lateral buckling values implying poor
interfacial stress between NC particles and epoxy resin.

1. Introduction The earliest statement about buckling of columns was presented by

Euler in 1744, and it was experimentally studied by Walker [4]. Chai
Demand for composite materials has being increased due to the and Hoon [5] studied the buckling stability of laminated composite
continuous development of industry which often requires high perfor- plates under the simply supported boundary conditions along with in
mance of materials for advanced engineering applications. Nowadays, plane directions, and results were compared with composite laminates
due to their high strength- and stiffness-to-weight ratio, great resistance subjecting to uniaxial and biaxial compression. Rajesh and Pitchaimani
to corrosion, better damping characteristics, improved fatigue re- [6] experimentally investigated the effects of the axial compression
sistance, composite materials are widely used in various modern en- force on buckling and free vibration characteristics of the natural fiber
gineering applications such as aircrafts, automobiles, marine, robotics, fabric polymer composite beams, indicating that critical buckling load
building industry, sporting equipment, electronic components, etc. [1]. increased while increasing number of fabric layers. Additionally,
Fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composites are the most popular com- weaving architecture of the fabrics was a major effect on buckling be-
posite materials in modern engineering applications, and fibers of glass, havior of the composite samples. Ram and Sinha [7] examined the
carbon, quartz, boron, basalt and aramid are most commonly used as a buckling analyses of laminated composite plate subjecting to tem-
reinforcing phase. Among these fibers, glass fibers are preferably used perature and moisture. Finite elements method was employed by using
in the structural applications for the requirement of high strength and theory of high-order shear deformation for derivation of buckling
low costs [2]. equations. Several parameters like aspect ratio, side to thickness ratio,
Safety and stability of engineering structures is essential and con- stacking sequences and plate dimensions on the hydrothermal buckling
stitutive for sustaining reliability of the structures, and studies are were investigated in detail. Ray [8] presented a numerical study on
continuously increasing to enhance the mechanical performances with buckling behavior of laminated composite plates to study the effect of
aim of avoiding the failures during excessive loading conditions. fiber weight fraction in lamina on buckling following parametric stu-
Buckling is a phenomenon called as sudden failure of a structural dies.
member subjected to high compressive loads, where the value of The improvement of buckling properties of the members made of
compressive stress at the failure point is less than the ultimate com- glass fibers plays an important role for structural design because of the
pressive stress value at which the material is capable of withstands [3]. wide range of glass fiber applications in the industry. Therefore, there is

Corresponding author.
E-mail address: mehmetbulut@hakkari.edu.tr (M. Bulut).

Received 19 July 2018; Received in revised form 22 August 2018; Accepted 19 September 2018
Available online 20 September 2018
1359-8368/ © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Ö.Y. Bozkurt et al. Composites Part B 158 (2019) 82–91

Fig. 1. Flow of production process.

Fig. 2. Tensile test samples. (a) Cutted samples by CNC machine, (b) Sizes of the samples.

Fig. 3. Flexural test mechanism. (a) Test samples, (b) Three point test mechanism.

Ö.Y. Bozkurt et al. Composites Part B 158 (2019) 82–91

Fig. 4. Buckling test mechanism. (a) Axial buckling, (b) Lateral buckling.

buckling of the composite members is to incorporate micro or nano-

scale particles due to their unique surface treatments with increased
chemical activity and particular physical characteristics [20], and many
studies were performed about enhancement of buckling behavior of
laminated composites [21] [22]; [23], and [24].
Rafiee et al. [25] presented a comprehensive study on buckling
behavior of graphene/epoxy nanocomposite beam structures and it was
shown that graphene nano pellets with inclusion 0.1 wt % within the
common matrix of epoxy enhanced the critical buckling load up to
52%. Uddin and Sun [26] investigated for enhancement of compression
strength of unidirectional glass/epoxy composites by embedding nano-
silica particles in epoxy matrix. It was shown that the addition of nano-
silica particles significantly increased the longitudinal and transverse
tensile and compressive strengths.
NC fillers are also preferably used for the requirements of low cost,
Fig. 5. Axial buckling curves of the samples according to NC particle content. compatibility with fibers, and easy availability applications, to increase
the mechanical properties in fiber-reinforced polymeric composites
when they are incorporated very low concentrations [27]. Reddy et al.
[28] investigated the effect of NC and incident energy on the low ve-
a need to increase in mechanical performance of glass/epoxy compo-
locity impact resistance of S2 glass/epoxy composite for varying NC
sites as it substitutes realizing light weight structures for marine,
contents. The results showed that addition of NC significantly improved
aerospace and automotive industries. Many studies have been per-
the energy absorption of the composite laminates. Jumahat el al [29].
formed to investigate axial buckling properties of the composites by
showed that incorporation of the montmorillonite clay in to the Epikote
using variety of parameters such as notch size [9], boundary condition
828 epoxy with NC contents ranging from 1 to 5 wt% reduced the
and fiber orientation [10,11], hybridization of fibers [12]. Besides, the
compressive strength when NC contents were 1 and 3 wt%. Hosur et al.
axial buckling, several researchers [13–19] studied the lateral buckling
[30] investigated the low velocity impact response of carbon/epoxy
analyses of composite structures for different parameters like fiber or-
composites containing NC particles, and it is stated that inclusion of NC
ientation angle, notch effect, load types and locations etc.
particles in the composite system reduced the impact damage while
One of the ways to increase the mechanical properties including

Table 1
Critical axial buckling load of various NC particle contents specimens.
Clay wt. % Sample 1 Sample 2 Sample 3 Sample 4 Average Improvement (%)

0 349 342 344 332 341.75 ± 7.13 0.00

1 382 369 345 388 371 ± 19.06 8.56
1.5 312 318 322 280 308 ± 19.11 −9.88
2 208 240 195 224 216.75 ± 19.51 −36.58
3 196 222 172 180 192.5 ± 22.05 −43.67

Ö.Y. Bozkurt et al. Composites Part B 158 (2019) 82–91

Fig. 6. Lateral buckling curves of the samples according to NC particle content.

peak load was not significantly altered. Zabihi et al. [31] presented a
comprehensive review on epoxy-clay nanocomposites reporting that
dispersion technic those effecting structures and properties of nano-
composites primarily effects on mechanical properties of the nano-
Glass fibers have been widely used in engineering applications in
the composite materials, and very limited works about NC inclusion
effects on buckling properties are existing in the literature. Therefore,
in the present study, it is aimed to investigate the ideal amount of NC
particle inclusion on effects of axial and lateral buckling behavior of
glass fiber reinforced epoxy composite laminates, studying the possi-
bility of getting more effective composite samples with enhancing the
buckling behavior. The effects of fiber orientation angle on the critical
buckling loads were examined for the buckling test samples at NC
Fig. 7. The effects of fiber orientation angle on axial buckling load. (a) Axial
contents of 1, 1.5, 2 and 3 wt%. In addition, tensile and flexural prop-
load-displacement curves, (b) Average axial buckling load values.
erties of the samples were determined only for the samples exhibiting
NC content of 1 wt% at which they reached the highest axial critical
buckling load. 2.2. Characterization of the samples

The morphology of the NC/S-glass fiber/epoxy has been screened by

2. Materials and methods using scanning electron microscopy SEM (Gaziantep University Uluğ
Bey Research Center). SEM images were taken over the fracture region
2.1. Materials of the samples after the tensile and flexural tests. Failure and fracture
characterizations of tensile and flexural tests in the epoxy resin were
S-glass fabric with plain weave of architecture was used for major explained with NC dispersion in the epoxy resin by SEM photos.
reinforcing material, and its areal density is 200 g/m2. Chemical ma-
terials like epoxy resin (MOMENTIVE-MGS L160) and hardener
(MOMENTIVE-MGS H260S) were supplied from DOST Chemical 2.3. Production of test samples
Industrial Raw Materials Industry, Turkey. Epoxy and hardener weight
mixing ratio (epoxy/hardener) were specified by 100:36 to form matrix Hand lay-up is the oldest and simplest method with most commonly
resin during the production the process. Montmorillonite NC with di- used for manufacturing of reinforced plastic laminates, and this method
methyl dialkyl amine was used as nanofiller additive material and it is least expensive open-molding method since it requires the least
was purchased from Grafen Chemical Industries, Turkey. NC particles amount of equipment. In this method, fiber reinforcements have been
exhibit a lateral width of 0.5–2 μm, thickness of 1–10 nm, and bulk placed by hand in a mold, and resin has been applied with a brush or
density of 200–500 kg/m3 roller. Therefore, Hand lay-up method was used to produce composite

Table 2
Critical lateral buckling load of various NC contents.
Clay wt. % Sample 1 Sample 2 Sample 3 Sample 4 Average Improvement (%)

0 112.96 90.17 99.28 86.21 97.16 ± 11.87 0.00

1 76.77 90.41 87.12 76.05 82.59 ± 7.26 −14.99
1.5 71.33 67.04 67.66 95.98 75.50 ± 13.78 −22.29
2 57.98 60.22 67.33 58.41 60.99 ± 4.34 −37.23
3 64.04 63.61 69.95 67.04 66.16 ± 2.95 −31.90

Ö.Y. Bozkurt et al. Composites Part B 158 (2019) 82–91

Fig. 8. The effects of fiber orientation angle on lateral buckling load. (a) Lateral
load-displacement curves, (b) Average lateral buckling load values.

laminates in the current study.

Fabrics were cut with a desired dimension (300 mm × 270 mm)
using EC cutter, and twelve layers of S-glass fabric pieces were prepared
for each sample of laminates. The laminating resin epoxy was mixed
with NC particles by a mechanical stirrer with velocity of 900 rpm ro-
tation speed for 20 min; the NC particles were added slowly to the
epoxy while mixing by the mechanical stirrer, and then hardener was
added with a fine mixing for 5 min to reach better homogeneity. After
that, the mixture was poured upon the fabrics, layer by layer, for all 12
layers and each time fibers were wetted enough with resin by using a
brush. Then, laminated wetted fabrics were laid carefully on the flat
mold and subjected to (120 kPa) pressure supplied by hydraulic pres-
sure system for 1 h curing time with 80 °C temperature by a heater.
Fig. 1 illustrates the flow of the manufacturing of the test samples.
Fig. 9. The effects of fiber orientation angle on tensile tests. (a) Stress-strain
2.4. Tensile tests curves, (b) Tensile strength, (c) Tensile modulus.

Tensile tests were performed by using the 300 kN Shimadzu AG-X

series universal testing machine with a crosshead speed of 2 mm per
min in accordance with the ASTM D638-10 standard test process con- content of 1 wt% by using three-point bending tests in accordance with
figuration. The tensile tests were conducted to find the stress-strain ASTM D790, to determine flexural modulus and strength up to the
behavior of the samples only for 1 wt% of NC particles and fiber or- breaking point of the sample. Flexural test samples were prepared as
ientations of 0, 15, 30 and 45°. Test samples cutted by CNC cutting different fiber orientation angles (0, 15, 30 and 45°) as shown in Fig. 3
machine and their geometrical sizes were displayed in Fig. 2. (a), and flexural test mechanism was displayed in Fig. 3 (b). A support
span-to-depth ratio of (1:32) was utilized, and specimen sizes were in
2.5. Flexural tests the dimensions of 200 × 12.7 mm. To determine the flexural proper-
ties, the sample was loaded in the perpendicular direction with the
Flexural properties of the samples were measured only for NC 3 mm/min speed up to the fracture point.

Ö.Y. Bozkurt et al. Composites Part B 158 (2019) 82–91

Fig. 10. Failure characteristics of the test samples.

2.6. Buckling tests samples which were recorded value of 371 N, but this load was declined
with increasing NC content to 1.5, 2 and 3 wt%, where NC initiated
Buckling tests were performed according to ASTM E2954 standard reverse effects on load values (308, 217 and 192.5 N respectively) when
test method by using Shimadzu AG-X series universal testing machine. comparing axial critical buckling load at 342 N. Addition of NC with
Axial buckling samples were prepared with a size of 200 mm length and low content (1 wt%) contributed limited improved buckling resistance
20 mm width for a gauge length of 155 mm. The thickness of tested by enhancing epoxy characteristics especially epoxy toughness as good
specimens was in the range of 2.4 ± 0.2 mm due to variation of NC interfacial bonding of epoxy with clay particles. The reduction in cri-
content. During the experiments, the specimens were fixed both from tical axial load value was attributed to agglomeration of NC particles in
bottom and top grips; they were loaded in compressive direction with the epoxy, resulting in decreasing of load transfer between NC particle
crosshead speed of 0.25 mm/min. Four samples were tested at least for and matrix. The reason of this reduction in axial load can be also be
each compound, and the average value was considered as final result. explained the fact of exfoliation degree. Similar results have found by
For the lateral buckling experiments, the samples were loaded lat- Borrego et al. [32], declaring that high percentages of NC particles
erally from the free end with the 1 mm/min speed while the other end addition resulted in decreasing trend fatigue stress as a result of poor
was fixed to provide a behavior like a cantilever beam. The sample particle dispersion and formation of agglomeration. They also showed
dimensions used in lateral buckling tests were taken as 20 mm width; that glass fiber reinforced samples with 1% NC content presented an
200 mm overall lengths which were equal to the dimensions of axial increasing of rigidity, while NC particle content of 3% revealed a
buckling test specimens. The gauge length was measured as 150 mm. slightly lower when compared with unfilled composites. This suggest
Friction is an important and opposite effect which might cause increase that further addition of NC after the threshold content (1 wt %) led to
in critical buckling load. So, a bearing was placed to free end of the detraction of particle dispersion since nanoclay exhibits high propensity
beam for reducing friction effect. Both axial and critical buckling test to agglomerate, initiating premature failures, indicating that this be-
mechanism was illustrated in Fig. 4. havior was in good agreement in the current study of buckling tests.
Quality of the NC dispersion in the epoxy resin is crucial parameter
3. Results and discussions for the for the improve the exfoliation degree, and further increasing
NC content after threshold has caused imperfection of load transferring
3.1. Axial buckling tests from Particle to matrix resin around the interfacial surface of the NC
particles and epoxy resin. This also indicates that the intercalated
The axial buckling critical loads of the prepared test samples were structure of NC creating high localized stresses in the epoxy during axial
determined by applying uniaxial force on each examined specimen loading, and weak bonding at the interface of the particle and matrix
using test machine. Twelve layers of glass fiber (G12) specimens with restricted the load transferring [33]. Iqbal [34] studied the low velocity
different NC contents of 0, 1, 1.5, 2 and 3 wt% were experimentally impact behavior of NC modified composites, and it was shown that
tested only for bi-directional orientation of [0°/90°] angle. Fig. 5 il- addition of NC particles by the 3 wt% in the epoxy resin revealed the
lustrates the relationship between the critical axial buckling load and highest incipient and absorbed energy compared with other clay con-
the weight percentage of NC particles, and their critical axial buckling tents 0 and 5 wt%, and this was attributed the presence of the exfoliated
load values with averages were comparatively presented in Table 1. dispersion of the clay particles in the epoxy at 3 wt%.
In Fig. 5, it is clear the critical load point representing the value
which the curve starts to be nonlinear just before failure initiation. 3.2. Lateral buckling tests
Although the observed variation in buckling loads for different clay
contents, the variation of specimen's strokes at critical buckling point Fig. 6 illustrates curves between the average critical axial buckling
wasn't far. The interpretation of this situation is the declining in spe- loads in Newton and the average stroke values in millimeters for each
cimens' stiffness with further increasing NC content after 1 wt%. specimens group of different NC contents, and Table 2 presents the
As it is clear from above Fig. 5 and Table 1 that the highest en- critical lateral buckling loads of test samples with various NC contents
hancement in critical axial load was about 8.6% at 1 wt% NC filled as well as unmodified samples. From Fig. 6 and Table 1, it is clear that

Ö.Y. Bozkurt et al. Composites Part B 158 (2019) 82–91

Fig. 11. SEM images of the samples. (a) Pure Glass/Epoxy, (b) 1 wt%, (c) 1.5 wt%, (d) 2 wt%, (e) 3 wt%.

critical lateral buckling load was decreased gradually with in- Jumahata et al. [32] studied compressive properties of Epikote 828
corporating NC particles in laminates comparing. The highest reduction epoxy with incorporating montmorillonite clay nanoparticles. It is
in lateral buckling load was recorded at NC content of 2 wt% at which concluded that compressive properties were highly dependent on de-
load value was decreased to 66 N compared to 97 N, implying 37% gree of exfoliation of the clay nanoplatelets, and reduction in com-
reduction in critical buckling load. The poor spreading or dispersion pressive strength values were attributed the intercalated structure of NC
could be a reason for this load reduction besides the presence of micro- in the epoxy resin, leading to create high localized stresses and pre-
sized voids generated from excess stretching fibers which reduces load mature failures. Similarly, weak bonding of NC particles and epoxy
resistance in the bottom fibers. In addition, agglomeration of NC par- resin resulted in detract of the lateral buckling behavior as a result of
ticles is another effect on critical buckling load, resulting in decreasing reduction in strength at particle-matrix interface. However, deforma-
of interfacial stress between particle and matrix, leading to reduce load tion at breaking point was increased as increasing NC content, implying
transfer between NC particles and matrix showing decreased mechan- that incorporation of the NC particles modified the brittle nature of the
ical characteristics by means of lateral and axial buckling properties. samples with increased toughness, while reducing load carrying capa-
The highest critical lateral load point was recorded as unmodified city.
samples with stroke of 5.88 mm, but samples with NC content of 1.5 wt
% showed the highest stroke (6.7 mm). This elongation implies de- 3.3. Effects of fiber orientation angle
creasing in laminate stiffness. Further increasing in NC content in the
samples caused to decreasing of maximum lateral load and stroke, 3.3.1. Axial buckling tests
suggesting that poor interfacial bonding between NC particle and ma- Fig. 7 shows the influence of fiber orientation angle on axial
trix resin as a result of particle agglomeration. buckling of the samples only for NC content of 1 wt%. It is clear that

Ö.Y. Bozkurt et al. Composites Part B 158 (2019) 82–91

buckling of the samples only for NC content of 1 wt%. It is clear that

critical buckling along the lateral direction was increased as increasing
fiber angle from 0 to 15, then followed decreasing trend further in-
creasing fiber angle. Load-deflection curves show the nonlinear beha-
vior along the lateral loading, and maximum enhancement in lateral
buckling load was recorded as 50% with respect to fiber angle of [0°/

3.3.3. Tensile tests

Fig. 9 illustrates the variation of tensile properties for different or-
ientation angles. The results of the tensile tests showed that the bi-di-
rectional fiber orientation angle had significant effect on the tensile test
results, indicating a decreasing in tensile strength when the fiber or-
ientation angle was increased against the load axis. Fiber orientation
angle of [0°/90°] showed the highest tensile strength for NC content at
1 wt% compared with other fiber angles. The reason of this result could
be attributed to the orientation of major load carrying materials (glass
fibers). Fig. 10 displays the damage mechanisms of the test samples and
increasing of fiber angle from 0 to 45 caused shear damage-based
fractures by delamination, fiber ruptures and matrix cracking.
SEM micrographs of the samples for NC particle contents of (0, 1,
1.5, 2 and 3 wt%) were illustrated shown in Fig. 11, indicating that a
uniformly distribution of NC particles within the epoxy resin was ob-
served, and this uniform dispersion revealed an efficiently load trans-
ferring between particle and matrix resin, leading to increase in tensile,
flexural and buckling properties. Load carrying capacity of the samples
was significantly affected by interaction and adhesion of the NC par-
ticles with epoxy and fibers. For example, inclusion of high amount of
NC particles with epoxy resin resulted in agglomeration or aggregation
effects leading to decrease in mechanical properties including critical
buckling load. It is clear that samples exhibit the highest load carrying
capacity at NC content of 1 wt%, revealing highest load transfer be-
tween particle and matrix. Additionally, it can be concluded that in-
teraction of the NC particles with epoxy and fibers at NC content of 1 wt
% results in different failure mechanisms when shifting fiber orienta-
tion angle, and samples have been ruptured in the middle at fiber or-
ientation angle of [15°/-75°] showing high amount of delamination and
matrix cracking.

3.3.4. Flexural tests

Flexural properties of test samples with their average values were
shown in Fig. 12 according to fiber orientation angle at NC content of
1 wt%. A significant drop in flexural strength and modulus was re-
corded, and a decreasing trend was observed when increasing fiber
orientation angle. Maximum value in flexural strength was obtained at
fiber orientation angle of [0°/90°]. When failure mechanisms were
analyzed, propagation of the matrix crackling was oriented along the
fiber direction and lateral side or the samples. The residual deforma-
tions after the flexural test were varied according to fiber orientation
angle, and maximum residual deformation was obtained with fiber
angle of [-45°/45°] as shown in Fig. 13.

Fig. 12. The effects of fiber orientation angle on flexural tests. (a) Stress-strain
4. Conclusion
curves, (b) Flexural strength, (c) Flexural modulus.
In this study, S-glass fiber reinforced composite laminates with
epoxy resin modified by different weight contents of NC particles were
produced to analyze critical buckling loads characteristic along with
critical buckling along the axial direction was followed a decreasing axial and lateral direction. The influence of fiber orientation angle on
trend as increasing fiber angle. This suggests that samples with fiber critical buckling load as well as tensile and flexural behaviors has also
angle of [0°/90°] reveal the optimum load carrying capacity and in- been investigated only for NC weight content of 0.1 wt%. The addition
creasing in fiber orientation angle detracts the load carrying capacity of NC at 1 wt% into the composite samples contributed a limited en-
leading to decrease the stability of the composite system modified with hancement in the critical axial buckling load about 8% compared with
optimum NC inclusion in the epoxy by 1 wt%. pure composites, while other NC contents revealed decreasing in cri-
tical buckling value. For the NC content of 1 wt%, tensile strength and
3.3.2. Lateral buckling tests modulus have shown the highest value at fiber orientation angle of [0°/
Fig. 8 illustrates the influence of fiber orientation angle on lateral 90°] relative to other fiber angles, and samples at NC content of 1 wt%

Ö.Y. Bozkurt et al. Composites Part B 158 (2019) 82–91

Fig. 13. Failure characteristics of test samples after flexural tests.

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