J Shanghai Jiaotong Univ Sci ›› 2022, Vol. 27 ›› Issue (6): 873-884.doi: 10.1007/s12204-022-2431-8

• Aeronautics and Astronautics • Previous Articles    

Meso-Scale Tearing Mechanism Analysis of Flexible Fabric Composite for Stratospheric Airship via Experiment and Numerical Simulation

CHEN Yonglin1 (陈永霖), YANG Weidong3 (杨伟东), XIE Weicheng4 (谢炜程), WANG Xiaoliang2 (王晓亮), FU Gongyi1∗ (付功义)   

  1. (1. School of Naval Architecture, Ocean and Civil Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, China; 2. School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, China; 3. School of Aerospace Engineering and Applied Mechanics, Tongji University, Shanghai 200092, China; 4. Aerospace System Engineering Shanghai, Shanghai 201109, China)
  • Received:2021-10-27 Online:2022-11-28 Published:2022-10-13

Abstract: Stratospheric airships are controllable lighter-than-air aircraft and have great potential application in surveillance and communication. The envelopes, one of the main structures of a stratospheric airship, are generally made of flexible fabric composites to be lightweight, high strength, capable of containing lifting gas, and resistant to the harsh stratospheric environment. The composites, however, are prone to tearing. Hence, their tearing behavior has attracted great attention. This paper explores the meso-scale tearing mechanism of an envelope and the temperature influence on its tear strength via experiment and numerical simulation. Biaxial tear tests were conducted on cruciform specimens, which were contacted with liquids (cold alcohol or hot water) at different temperatures including -25, 20, 50, 80 °C. The specimens’ tear stresses were measured and the meso-scale tearing behavior was captured with a microscope. Besides, a novel finite element analysis model based on truss and spring elements was established to simulate the tearing behavior. It was found that the simulation result has a relative agreement with the tests. The simulation results show that the maximum tear stress of the envelope drops by 39.62% as the temperature rises from -60 °C to 80 °C and the tensile properties of yarns and matrix account for stress concentration around a crack tip. This work deeply reveals the meso-scale tearing mechanism of the envelope and provides a valuable reference for exploring tearing properties of flexible fabric composites.

Key words: stratospheric airship, fabric composite, temperature, tearing property, numerical simulation

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