Investigating the energy absorption capabilities of novel composite materials

  • Campos, Pedro (FEUP, U. Porto)
  • Dalli, Denis (FEUP, U.Porto)
  • Arteiro, Albertino (FEUP, U. Porto)
  • Danzi, Federico (INEGI, U. Porto)
  • Moreira, Diogo (FEUP, U.Porto)
  • Lobão, Vasco (FEUP, U.Porto)
  • Vigna, Lorenzo (Instron CEAST Division)
  • Calzolari, Andrea (Instron CEAST Division)
  • Lopes, Igor (INEGI, U. Porto)

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Energy absorption structures are ever-increasingly manufactured from carbon fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP) material systems. A number of new material systems have recently been introduced in the transportation sector, including thin-ply CFRPs, as well as more environmentally sustainable alternatives, such as thermoplastics and natural fibre composites (NFCs). There is a noticeable knowledge gap about the energy absorption capabilities of these novel materials. The present work aims to study the crashworthiness performance of these aforementioned alternatives for possible use in transportation crash structures. The most commonly used experimental characterization methodology for energy absorption is flat coupon crush testing. Among the numerous works present in literature, which have included a variety of coupon and fixture designs, is that recently presented by Vigna et al. [1]. These authors presented a methodology that includes the use of a new fixture which enables open-section flat coupon testing using an adjustable unsupported height mechanism. Through an ongoing collaborative project, this work presents the results of an experimental test campaign of flat crush coupons manufactured from a variety of novel composite material systems, and compares these results with analytical and numerical crashworthiness prediction tools. Preliminary results demonstrate the potential o NCFs and of their hybridisation with CFRPs.