Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


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First Advisor

Kelkar, Ajit D.


High specific modulus and strength are the most desirable properties for the material used in structural applications. Composite materials exhibit these properties and over the last decade, their usage has increased significantly, particularly in automotive, defense, and aerospace applications. The major cause of failures in composite laminates is due to delaminations. Delamination in composite laminates can occur due to fatigue, low velocity impact and other loadings modes. Conventional methods like “through-the-thickness stitching” or “Z-Pinning” have limitations for improving flexural and interlaminar properties in woven composites due to the fact that while improving interlaminar properties, the presence of stitches or Z pins affects inplane properties. This study investigates the flexural behavior of fiberglass composites interleaved with non-woven Tetra Ethyl Orthosilicate(TEOS) electrsopsun nanofibers(ENFs). TEOS ENFs were manufactured using an electrospinning technique and then sintered. Nanoengineered beams were fabricated by interleaving TEOS ENFs between the laminated fiberglass composites to improve the flexural properties. TEOS ENFs, resin film, and failed fiberglass laminated composites with and without nanofibers were characterized using SEM Imaging and ASTM standard testing methods. A hybrid composite was made by interleaving a non-woven sheet of TEOS ENFs between the fiberglass laminates with additional epoxy resin film and fabricated using the out of autoclave vacuum bagging method. Four commonly used stacking sequences of fiberglass laminates with and without nanofibers were used to study the progressive failure and deformation mechanics under flexural loadings. The experimental study has shown significant improvements in short beam strength and strain energy absorption in the nanoengineered laminated fiberglass 2 composites before complete failure. The modes were investigated by performing detailed fractographic examination of failed specimens. Experimental results were validated by developing a detailed three dimensional finite element model. Results of the progressive deformation and damage mechanics from the finite element model agreed well with the experimental results. Overall, nanoengineered beams showed improvement in the short beam strength and 30 % improvement in energy absorption as compared to a fiberglass beam without the presence of nanofibers.