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On the delamination self-sensing function of Z-pinned composite laminates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-146
Number of pages9
JournalComposites Science and Technology
Early online date19 Mar 2016
DateAccepted/In press - 18 Mar 2016
DateE-pub ahead of print - 19 Mar 2016
DatePublished (current) - 18 May 2016


This paper investigates for the first time the usage of through-thickness reinforcement for delamination detection in self-sensing composite laminates. Electrically conductive T300/BMI Z-pins are considered in this study. The through-thickness electrical resistance is measured as the delamination self-sensing variable, both for conductive and non-conductive laminates. The Z-pin ends are connected to a resistance measurement circuit via electrodes arranged on the surface of the laminate. The delamination self-sensing function enabled by conductive Z-pins is characterised for Mode I/II delamination bridging, using single Z-pin coupons. Experiment results show that, if the through-thickness reinforced laminate is electrically conductive, the whole Z-pin pull-out process associated with delamination bridging can be monitored. However, for a non-conductive laminate, delamination bridging may not be sensed after the Z-pin is pulled out from one of the surface electrodes. Regardless of the electrical properties of the reinforced laminate, the through-thickness electrical resistance is capable of detecting Mode II bridging, albeit there exists an initial “blind spot” at relatively small lateral deformation. However, the Z-pin rupture can be clearly detected as an abrupt resistance increase. This study paves the way for exploring multi-functional applications of through-thickness reinforcement.

    Research areas

  • Structural composites, Smart materials, Delamination, Z-pinning

    Structured keywords

  • Composites UTC

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    Rights statement: This is the author accepted manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Elsevier at Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Accepted author manuscript, 779 KB, PDF document

    Licence: CC BY-NC-ND


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