Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Engineering (M.S.E.)

Degree Program

School of Engineering

First Advisor

Pramod Chaphalkar


Void formation is a common problem in many composite material manufacturing processes. Composites fail when micro-cracks, which usually originate at voids, propagate through the material. The mechanical properties of a lamina depend not only on the constituent properties, but also on the tow packing configuration, void content and void distribution. This paper develops a method to determine the mechanical properties of a tow and lamina and develops a progressive failure model to predict the strength of a lamina with varying void content, void distribution and tow packing configuration, using finite element analysis.

The strength a lamina with various tow packing configurations, void content and void distribution were investigated utilizing the progressive failure model. The tow packing configuration can affect the strength of a lamina by approximately 25 percent. Voids located near the gaps between the tows severely affect the strength of the lamina. The transverse stiffness of tows in a lamina also significantly affects the failure strength and strain of the lamina.


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