Curved composite laminates appeared to be more vulnerable than flat ones to rapid transverse loading. Damage induced by low-velocity impact on the cylindrically curved composite laminates has been experimentally investigated. Graphite/epoxy shells with the radius of curvatures of 150 mm showed quite different impact response and damage behavior from that of flat laminate. Under the same impact energy level, the maximum contact force varied with the radius of curvatures, which is directly related to the impact damage. Delamination was distributed rather evenly at each interface along the thickness direction of curved laminates on the contrary to the case of flat laminates, where delamination is typically concentrated at the interfaces away from the impact point. Due to the presence of curvature, the acoustic microscopy could not be directly applied to the layer-by-layer assessment of delamination damage. As an alternative, the penetrant-enhanced X-radiography (PEXR) was introduced and the results from PEXR were compared with those from destructive examination of the cross-section by scanning electron microscopy.

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