Low velocity impact on polymer composite plates in contact with water


  • Y Kwon
  • R Conner




In this study, composite materials were tested in two different environments to determine the role of Fluid Structure Interaction with composites under a low velocity impact. This was done using a low velocity impact machine and polymer composite plates. The composite is made of laminated symmetrical plain weave E-glass fabrics. The test area of the composite plates is 30.5 cm by 30.5 cm with clamped boundary conditions. The testing was done using a drop weight system to impact the center of the test area. One testing was performed with composite plates in air, called dry impact. The other testing was conducted while composite plates were submerged in water, called wet impact. A Plexiglas box in conjunction with the impact machine was used to keep the top of the composite sample dry while it was submerged in an anechoic water tank, so called water-backed air impact. Output from the tests was recorded using strain gauges and a force impact sensor. The results show that an added mass effect from the water plays a large role in the Fluid Structure Interaction with composites due to the similar densities of water and the composites. The wet impact results in a larger impact force and damage than the dry impact under the same impact condition, i.e., the same impact mass and drop height.


Composite Technology, (2010, January 18). DDG-1000 Zumwalt: Stealth Warship. [Online]. Available: http://www.compositesworld.com/articles/ddg-1000-zumwalt-stealth-warship. https://doi.org/10.21236/ada613378

B. Griffiths, (2006, August 1). Rudder Gets New Twist With Composites [Online]. Available: http://www.compositesworld.com/articles/rudder-gets-new-twist-with-composites.

R. Tiron, (2004, July 1). Navy Gradually Embracing Composite Materials in Ships. [Online]. Available: http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/archive/2004/July/Pages/Navy_gradually3506.aspx

E. F. Herzberg, "The Annual Cost of Corrosion for DOD," LMI, McLean, VA, Tech. Rep. SKT50T1, Apr. 2006.

Y. W. Kwon, M. A. Violette, R. D. McCrillis, and J. M. Didoszak, "Transient Dynamic Response and Failure of Sandwich Composite Structures under Impact Loading with Fluid Structure Interaction", Applied Composite Materials. (DOI: 10.1007/s10443-012-9249-8). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10443-012-9249-8

Y. W. Kwon and M. A. Violette, "Damage Initiation and Growth in Laminated Polymer Composite Plates with Fluid-Structure Interaction under Impact Loading", International Journal of Multiphysics, Vol. 6, No.1, 2012. https://doi.org/10.1260/1750-9548.6.1.29

US Composite, (2011). Fiberglass Cloths [Online]. Available: http://uscomposites.com/cloth.html

Ashland Inc, (2012). Derakane epoxy vinyl ester resin [Online]. Available: http://www.ashland.com/products/derakane-epoxy-vinyl-ester-resin

X. Song, "Vacuum Assisted Resin Transfer Molding (VARTM): Model Development and Verification," Ph.D. dissertation, Dept. Mech. Eng., Virginia Tech Univ., Blacksburg, VA, 2003.

Y. W. Kwon, A. C. Owens, A. S. Kwon, and J. M. Didoszak, "Experimental Study of Impact on Composite Plates with Fluid-Structure Interaction." The International Journal of Multiphysics, Volume 4 Number 3, 2010. https://doi.org/10.1260/1750-9548.4.3.259

W. J. Cantwell and J. Morton, "The significance of damage and defects and their detection in composite materials: a review," The Journal of Strain Analysis for Eng. Design, doi:10.1243/03093247V271029, Jan. 1992.

T. W. Shyr and Y. H. Pan, "Impact resistance and damage characteristics of composite laminates," Composite Struc. 62, 193-203, 2003. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0263-8223(03)00114-4

W. J. Cantwell and J. Morton, "The impact resistance of composite materials: a review," Composites 22(5), 347-362, 1991. https://doi.org/10.1016/0010-4361(91)90549-v

S. Abrate, "Impact on laminated composite materials: recent advances," Appl. Mech. Rev. 47(11), 517-544, 1994.

M. W. Richardson and M. J. Wiseheart, "Review of low-velocity impact properties of composite materials," Composites 27A, 1123-1131, 1996.



How to Cite

Kwon, Y. and Conner, R. (2012) “Low velocity impact on polymer composite plates in contact with water”, The International Journal of Multiphysics, 6(3), pp. 179-198. doi: 10.1260/1750-9548.6.3.179.