Smart Materials and Structures | 2021
Time-dependent shape of bistable unsymmetric carbon fibers-epoxy thin laminates
Carbon fiber-epoxy thin laminates, manufactured adopting a [0/90] non-symmetric lay-up, are characterized by two stable curved shapes, so being bistable. These composite thin laminates are attracting great interest for their potential application as novel morphing structures and power harvesting devices in many engineering fields. The curvature changes of rectangular bistable plates were monitored at room temperature by a laser scanner system over a time span of 10 d. These changes were ascribed to the relaxation of thermal stresses over time. Anisotropic stress relaxation behavior was then studied looking at the matrix dominated properties, such as the transverse modulus in accelerated high temperature experiments and the moisture absorption. Then, a simple viscoelastic model was proposed together with a finite element analysis of the distortion arising from laminate cooling at the end of high temperature cure process. The experimental and numerical results showed that the transverse elastic modulus and the hygroscopic effect are the main factors affecting the shape relaxation of bistable laminates.