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In this TLP we have looked at the approaches taken to go about deriving the in-plane, on-axis elastic constants, in particular the axial and transverse Young's Moduli and the Poisson's ratios , for a composite. From these, we went onto consider the strengths and failure modes of fibre-aligned composites and explore the question as to why they exhibit high strength and toughness , even though the constituent materials tend to be brittle.

With this basic understanding we were able to extend our consideration to laminates , which have a possible advantage of being isotropic, and we have seen how to calculate the elastic constants for an arbitrary in-plane stress state. Off-axis loading presents us with the problem of tensile-shear interactions and coupling stresses in laminates, as a result of which balanced symmetric laminates are preferred. Then in the last section we applied the Maximum Stress Criterion and the Tsai-Hill Criterion to predict the required stress state for laminate failure.

The greatest advantage of composite materials is strength and stiffness combined with lightness and durability; and these properties are the reasons why composites are used in a wide variety of applications.


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