Crack tip identification with long FBG sensors in mixed-mode delamination
The uncertainty of the crack tip position inside composite coupons during a delamination test under variable fracture mode conditions reduces the accuracy of the experimental results. In this work a method is presented where the crack tip position is located using long embedded Fibre Bragg Grating (FBG) sensors together with the Optical Low Coherence Reflectometry (OLCR) technique. With this technique the local Bragg wavelength is measured which then enables to calculate the axial strain profile within the grating. Carbon/epoxy samples are tested under different mode ratios through the standard Mixed-Mode Bending (MMB) test. Embedded long FBG sensors are used to measure the axial strain profile along the whole grating at different stages of the test. The crack tip can be precisely identified with the long embedded FBGs and then checked by means of a visual inspection after complete delamination of the sample. The data indicate that the long FBG sensor detects the crack tip inside the sample at least as precisely as the traditionally performed visual inspections carried out during the test by means of the lateral markings. Numerical simulations using cohesive elements are in good agreement with the experimental data. (c) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.