Micromechanical simulation of damage progression in carbon phenolic composites
- Slattery, Kerry T.
- Nov 1, 1993.
- Physical Description:
- 1 electronic document
- Restrictions on Access:
- Unclassified, Unlimited, Publicly available. and Free-to-read Unrestricted online access
- Carbon/phenolic composites are used extensively as ablative insulating materials in the nozzle region of solid rocket motors. The current solid rocket motor (RSRM) on the space shuttle is fabricated from woven rayon cloth which is carbonized and then impregnated with the phenolic resin. These plies are layed up in the desired configuration and cured to form the finished part. During firing, the surface of the carbon/phenolic insulation is exposed to 5000 F gases from the rocket exhaust. The resin pyrolizes and the material chars to a depth which progresses with time. The rate of charring and erosion are generally predictable, and the insulation depth is designed to allow adequate safety margins over the firing time of the motor. However, anomalies in the properties and response of the carbon/phenolic materials can lead to severe material damage which may decrease safety margins to unacceptable levels. Three macro damage modes which were observed in fired nozzles are: ply lift, 'wedge out', and pocketing erosion. Ply lift occurs in materials with plies oriented nearly parallel to the surface. The damage occurs in a region below the charred material where material temperatures are relatively low - about 500 F. Wedge out occurs at the intersection of nozzle components whose plies are oriented at about 45 deg. The corner of the block of material breaks off along a ply interface. Pocketing erosion occurs in material with plies oriented normal to the surface. Thermal expansion is restrained in two directions resulting in large tensile strains and material failure normal to the surface. When a large section of material is removed as a result of damage, the insulation thickness is reduced which may lead to failure of the nozzle due to excessive heating of critical components. If these damage events cannot be prevented with certainty, the designer must increase the thickness of the insulator thus adding to both weight and cost. One of the difficulties in developing a full understanding of these macro damage mechanisms is that the loading environment and the material response to that environment are extremely complex. These types of damage are usually only observed in actual motor firings. Therefore, it is difficult and expensive to evaluate the reliability of new materials. Standard material tests which measure mechanical and thermal properties of test specimens can only provide a partial picture of how the material will respond in the service environment. The development of the ANALOG test procedure which can combine high heating rates and mechanical loads on a specimen will improve the understanding of the interactive effects of the various loads on the system. But a mechanistic model of material response which can account for the heterogeneity of the material, the progression of various micromechanical damage mechanisms, and the interaction of mechanical and thermal stresses on the material is required to accurately correlate material tests with response to service environments. A model based on fundamental damage mechanisms which is calibrated and verified under a variety of loading conditions will provide a general tool for predicting the response of rocket nozzles. The development of a micromechanical simulation technique was initiated and demonstrated to be effective for studying across-ply tensile failure of carbon/phenolic composites.
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 19940019973., Accession ID: 94N24446., and Alabama Univ., The 1993 NASA(ASEE Summer Faculty Fellowship Program; 5 p.
- No Copyright.
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