The relationship between tensile strength and flexure strength in fiber-reinforced composites

Research paper by J. M. Whitney, M. Knight

Indexed on: 01 Jun '80Published on: 01 Jun '80Published in: Experimental mechanics


Tensile data on unidirectional composites generated from a flexure test usually yield a higher strength than observed from a standard tensile coupon. According to a statistical-strength theory based on a Weibull distribution, the presence of a stress gradient in the flexure-test results in an apparent increase in tensile strength as compared to the tensile test under uniform stress. In the present paper, this concept is explored by utilizing data from unidirectional graphite-epoxy composites to compare with theoretical results generated from a two-parameter Weibull distribution. A larger variation in tensile strength is observed from tensile-coupon data than from flexure data. Such differences are not in accordance with strength theories based on a uniform flaw distribution and raise questions concerning variability of the test methods, as well as sources of material variability.