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The shear strength of anisotropic materials under high rate loading is a difficult property to measure. The goal of this project was to use finite element analysis and experimental testing to design a new high rate shear test method for fiber-reinforced composites (FRCs). A better understanding of deformation of FRCs at high rate can improve the crashworthiness and resilience of aerospace structures and automobiles. This project involved iterating designs of a fixture to be used in a tension scenario in a load frame and in a Split-Hopkinson Bar to subject an FRC specimen to as pure shear as possible. This process involved simulation to verify the concept followed by machining iteration and testing. Digital Image Correlation systems were used to analyze the deformation and corroborated by physical measurements from the test hardware. Future use of this fixture and test approach can be used to improve simulation models of fiber-reinforced composites.


Research and Creative Experience for Undergraduates (RCEU)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

College Name

College of Engineering


Nathan Spulak

Publication Date


Document Type



FEA, structures, carbon fiber, testing, high rate, stress, shear, strain

Fracture and Deformation of Materials Under Extreme Conditions



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