The effect of solid particle erosion on the strength properties of E-glass/epoxy composite was investigated. Solid particle erosion with SiC particles 400 μm to 500 μm in diameter was simulated on 12 ply [45°/−45°/0°/45°/−45°/0°]s E-glass/epoxy composites with constant particle velocity of 42.5 m/s at impact angles of 90°, 60°, and 30° for 30, 60, 90 and 120 seconds. Damaged and undamaged specimens were subjected to tensile tests while monitoring their acoustic emission (AE) activity. An erosion damage parameter was defined as a function of the particle impact angle and erosion duration to determine the residual tensile strength of the composite. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) images of the erosion damaged specimens revealed the same damage mechanism occurred at different impact angles. The distribution of AE events by event duration, ring down counts and energy distribution were used to characterize the different damage mechanisms that occurred during tensile loading of damaged and undamaged specimens. The results showed AE activity could be used to distinguish between different damage mechanisms within the composite, such as fiber/matrix debonding, delamination and fiber fracture. The Weibull probability distribution model and the AE stress delay parameter model were developed to relate the AE activity to the erosion damage and residual strength. The results showed both the Weibull probability model and the stress delay model could be used to predict residual strength of the composites.

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