Characterization of the fatigue behaviour of fibre-reinforced plastics through accelerated fatigue tests of composite beams and plates with electromagnetic shakers

  • Sol, Hugo (Administrative Promotor)
  • Van Paepegem, Wim (Co-Promotor)

Project Details


Increasing oil prices have intensified the trend to use composite materials more and more in the so-called primary components of cars and in aerospace applications. As a consequence the fatigue behaviour of composites becomes an issue again. During the last few decades, the problem of fatigue of fibre-reinforced plastics was partially avoided because the application of composites was mainly limited to so-called secondary components and the maximum strain in composite components was arbitrarily limited to 4000 microstrain (fatigue limit for BVID: Bearly Visible Impact Damage). This threshold was so low that fatigue damage was rarely a problem and design could be limited to static loading conditions [1-3]. For primary components with substantial weight savings, this is no longer possible. Moreover a number of unforeseen failures with large composite wind turbine blades have proved that fatigue can be a problem if not properly accounted for [4-6]. In order to determine the fatigue life time of composite structures, designers and engineers are still relying heavily on three types of experimental tests which all have their distinct drawbacks: (1) laboratory tests are often limited to uniaxial fatigue tests on rectangular specimens with a simple lay-up,
often with the sole purpose of establishing the S-N curve. The practical use of these S-N curves is fairly limited because almost all composite structures are subject to a multiaxial stress state under in-service fatigue loading [7-12],
(2) next there are the laboratory tests that generate a multiaxial stress state into the specimen. The most commonly used methods are: (i) biaxial loading of a plane cruciform specimen [13-23], en (ii) a combination of tension/compression and torsion on tubular specimens [24-26]. Both methods require an expensive test set-up and a complex specimen geometry. Stress concentrations at the grips complicate considerably the experiments [27,28],
(3) full-scale fatigue tests generate a lot of usefull information, but the construction of the test facilities and running the fatigue tests is very expensive [29,30].
On the last 'International Conference on Fatigue of Composites' (September 2007) - the most important international conference on fatigue of composites - many speakers stressed the absolute necessity for much faster and simpler fatigue tests capable of providing a lot more information in a much shorter time [31-33].
Effective start/end date1/01/1031/12/13

Flemish discipline codes

  • Civil and building engineering
  • Materials engineering


  • Non Destructive Testing
  • Material Characterisation
  • Structural Analysis Using Finite Element
  • Mixed Numerical/Experimental Methodes