Increasing damage tolerance of lightweight composite structures to impact loads while maintaining leak resistance under pressure is a key performance metric for space suit hard composite components. Aerospace and satellite structures are also driven by damage tolerant design criteria and proposed concepts may enable higher design allowables and lighter weight solutions. Proposed goals will improve performance 3X the current Z2 composite design and enable lighterweight and more robust and leak resistant composite component designs.
Damage tolerant composite structures are used in many applications, including aerospace, automotive and marine composites, and military platforms. Post-impact mechanical performance drives composite design in these applications, such as Compression after Impact or Open-hole Tension/Compression. Mechanical fastening and joining is also common in many of these applications and resistance to damage propagation at fastener holes promotes long-term durability. Concepts/strategies that increase durability, and post-impact performance while retaining lightweight characteristics are of wide-ranging interest in the composites industry.