Mechanical engineering assistant professor Michael Czabaj received a one-year NASA-Langley grant at $100,000,  for his Micromechanical Testing and Modeling of Fiber-Reinforced Polymeric Composites research.

The research and development described herein aims to support the general objective of the Advanced Composites Program (ACP), which intends to reduce the time and cost for certifying a structural airframe component comprised of a fiber-reinforced polymer matrix composite material. The objective of this project are to characterize distribution of fibers and flaws, and quantify the damage mechanisms affected by this distribution that yield the scatter observed in the bulk transverse tensile strength measurements. To this end, this study will leverage state-of-the art 2D and 3D imaging techniques (i.e. in-situ SEM and X-ray computed tomography), and high-fidelity, finite element simulations. This integrated experimental and computational approach will provide a means of quantifying the inherent variability of transverse failure of FRPs by accounting for the underlying microstructure. Furthermore, the experimental data and high-fidelity models of as-measured FRPs will provide a means for validating assumptions and predictions of current state-of-the-art micromechanics and ply-level modeling methods.

Dr. Czabaj is the director over the Utah Composites Laboratory.