Paul Woody

Project description

This project proposes the development of new hybrid textiles that will lead to composites with a unique combination of stiffness and toughness. The project will focus on the development of hybrid self-reinforced thermoplastic composites with a step-increase in stiffness, whilst also retaining high impact performance. A variety of different weave architectures and fibre types will be tested, with the overall goal to utilise the optimised hybrid architecture in at least one commercial application. The key challenge will be finding an efficient method for assessing and optimising the many composite variables (fibre types; weave architecture; layer thickness; volume fractions) that can result in the desired balance between density, stiffness and toughness.


PhD researcher, KU Leuven

MSc - Advanced Composite Materials, Imperial College London

Research interests

Hybrid 3D woven composites, self-reinforced thermoplastics, damage and failure analysis of composites, mechanical testing

Personal note

Outside of work I enjoy travelling and exploring new cities whenever I can, especially when this can be combined with going to gigs or music festivals. I also enjoy getting out of town and heading to the mountains for hiking or biking.

Latest publications by this author

Implementation and parametric study of J-integral data reduction methods for the translaminar toughness of hierarchical thin-ply composites [OPEN ACCESS]

Guillaume Broggi, Joël Cugnoni, Véronique Michaud

Three different J-integral formulations to derive the experimental translaminar toughness of composites from compact tension tests with a large-scale fracture process zone are implemented and discussed. They improve the existing approaches by taking advantage of stereo-digital image correlation to acquire full-field displacement fields. A field fitting procedure based on robust and efficient piecewise cubic smooth splines addresses noise-related issues reported in previous studies. Additionally, the paper proposes a novel crack tip extraction procedure to report the energy release rate as a function of the crack increment, even if knowledge of the crack tip is not required for the proposed J-integral method. The three methods are discussed in light of a parametric study conducted on synthetic and experimental data, including artificially noisy data. The study reveals that the proposed J-integral methods are suitable for translaminar toughness evaluation of a wide range of materials without the need for restrictive assumptions. However, variations in propagation values were observed when applied to experimental data. Finally, guidelines are drawn to chose the most suitable parameters for the algorithms that are proposed as a Python package.

Longitudinal debonding in unidirectional fibre-reinforced composites: Numerical analysis of the effect of interfacial properties

Sina AhmadvashAghbash, Christian Breite, Mahoor Mehdikhani, and Yentl Swolfs

Longitudinal fibre-matrix debonding is governed by interfacial strength, fracture toughness, thermal residual stresses, friction, and matrix plasticity. The proposed finite element model for fibre-matrix longitudinal debonding associated with fibre breakage accounts for these features, retrieving more realistic results for the stress redistribution around a fibre break. In contrast with the majority of the available finite element models, the current model does not impose the debond length and enables debond propagation based on the assigned interfacial properties. Several parametric studies have been performed to assess the effect of input parameters in two configurations: single- and multi-fibre packings. Higher values for interfacial friction coefficient, thermal residual stress and interfacial fracture toughness restrain the debond propagation and consequently accelerate the stress recovery. Conversely, including matrix plasticity facilitates the debond propagation. A prescribed matrix crack, concentric with the broken fibre and as large as thrice the fibre radius, has no significant effect on the extent of the debond but increases the stress concentration on the nearest intact fibres in the multi-fibre model. The results of the proposed finite element model match the reported laser Raman spectroscopy literature data. The current study improves the prediction capability of models for the longitudinal tensile failure of unidirectional composites.

Influence of Test Specimen Geometry on Probability of Failure of Composites Based on Weibull Weakest Link Theory

Rajnish Kumar, Bo Madsen, Hans Lilholt and Lars P Mikkelsen

This paper presents an analytical model that quantifies the stress ratio between two test specimens for the same probability of failure based on the Weibull weakest link theory. The model takes into account the test specimen geometry, i.e., its shape and volume, and the related non-constant stress state along the specimen. The proposed model is a valuable tool for quantifying the effect of a change of specimen geometry on the probability of failure. This is essential to distinguish size scaling from the actual improvement in measured strength when specimen geometry is optimized, aiming for failure in the gauge section. For unidirectional carbon fibre composites with Weibull modulus m in the range 10–40, it can be calculated by the model that strength measured with a straight-sided specimen will be 1–2% lower than the strength measured with a specific waisted butterfly-shaped specimen solely due to the difference in test specimen shape and volume.