This UROP research compared force dissipation and resiliency to impact loads between three fiberglass composite panels and an equivalent 1 in. thick steel plate of equivalent size to determine the composite specimens' viability for potential impact loading scenarios. A drop tower was used to apply impact loads ranging from 25 to 250 lbf. Loads were applied at 25 lbf increments with one trial performed at each increment. Impact force sensors and a displacement measurement device were placed under each panel tested to compare the force absorbed and maximum deflection between panel types. Test results found that all fiberglass composite panels absorbed more force than the steel panel at all applied energy levels. However, two of the three fiberglass composite panels failed at or before 250 lbf was applied, whereas the equivalent steel panel remained undamaged. Although it is advantageous for a panel to absorb impact force, the resiliency of a panel to impact load and failure is more important. It was concluded that fiberglass composite panels are viable for impact loading scenarios, but each type of fiberglass composite panel behaved differently as applied energy loads increased. Thus, if a fiberglass composite panel is to be used in a potential impact loading scenario, it is imperative to ensure its impact load capacity is sufficient for its application.
University of Minnesota's Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program
Mamer, Alex P.
Impact Resilience and Force Dissipation of Fiberglass Composite Panels versus a Steel Panel.
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