Date of Award

5-2022

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Mechanical and Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Ronnal Reichard

Second Advisor

David C. Fleming

Third Advisor

Ilya Mingareev

Fourth Advisor

James R. Brenner

Abstract

Fiber metal structures are structures formed by combining fiber reinforced plastics and metallic sheets. The most widely used fiber metal structure is GLARE®. GLARE® is solely used in the aerospace industry, due to its unmatched weight, crack propagation resistance, and inflated cost. Its inflated cost is attributed to the high-performance requirements of the industry that can only be achieved with high-cost materials and manufacturing processes. Unlike the aerospace industry, there are other industries that have far lower performance requirements but can still benefit by using fiber metal structures to reduce weight while improving performance. Traditionally, fiber metal structures are fabricated using expensive prepreg laminates and film adhesives that require an autoclave cure. This research explores alternative materials and construction to produce fiber metal structures that are more affordable and scalable than the current accepted methods. The adhesive used to bond the metallic and the composite components together was identified as the most essential element to develop these structures. Traditionally this was done by co-bonding the two materials together in an autoclave with film adhesives or through a secondary bonding process. Once an alternative adhesive was identified and characterized, it was shown that low-cost fiber metals structures can be produced out of autoclave with less expensive materials, and that traditional numerical methods can be used to accurately predict their behavior. It can be concluded from this experiment that hybrid solutions such as the fiber metal laminates presented in this study are viable options for replacing monolithic aluminum, glass fiber reinforced plastics and carbon fiber reinforced plastics in bending applications. This research highlights the benefits of combining the two materials to produce structures that outperform their individual counterparts on weight, performance and cost.

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