The main objective of this study is to investigate the effect of meteorites and debris impact on thermal fatigue life of unidirectional T700 carbon fiber/epoxy composite material. This composite material may be applied in space structures for space missions. These structures are exposed to thermal cycles as they go in and out of the planet’s shadow. If in this environmental condition, meteorites and debris impact with the structure, they may have effect on the thermal fatigue life of the structure. It means that the impact may decrease or increase the thermal cycles to failure of the structure in the presence of meteorite and/or debris. In this study, by applying experimental results and using analytical method attempt was made to estimate the thermal fatigue life in the presence of meteorite and/or debris impact, and thermal cycle condition. The results of this research can contribute to predict the thermal fatigue life in the presence of debris and/or meteorites impact to structure in possible future space missions. Furthermore, the results of this study have shown that the impact of debris and/or meteorites can increase the interlaminar shear stress between the T700 carbon fiber and epoxy which may result in crack formation and decrease the thermal fatigue life.
Key words: T700 carbon fiber, meteorite and debris, space structures, thermal fatigue life, impact effect, unidirectional composite.
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