Author(s): Zhang Xiangping
Glass-fibre reinforced plastic pipes are widely used to convey fluids for various purposes. They offer a number of distinct advantages over conventional metals, such as high specific strengths, high specific moduli, superior corrosion resistance and low coefficient of thermal expansion. However, their behaviour under lateral quasi-static and impact loading are still not well known. The research programme described in this thesis was designed to characterise the performance of 55° winding angle GRP pipes, subjected to lateral quasi-static and impact loading. Two approaches: experimental tests and finite element analysis, were used to investigate the behaviour of the GRP pipes. The experimental investigation was started with diametral compression of short GRP pipes to examine the structural behaviour and failure mechanisms. Subsequently, lateral indentation tests were conducted on rigid-foundation supported or simply supported specimens using two different indenter geometries: line-ended and flat-ended. Furthermore, low-velocity impact tests were performed under similar conditions as those for indentation tests in order to characterise the response of the GRP pipes and to identify the correlation between the two forms of loading. The pipes exhibited multi-mode failure mechanisms, resin cracks, delaminations and fibre breakage. It is found that delamination, which resulted in significant loss in stiffness and strength, was the most significant mode of failure for the GRP pipes. A good correlation in behaviour was identified between quasi-static indentation and its energy equivalent low-velocity impact when the global bending stiffness of the GRP specimens were high. Specimens with span S 10.5D i, where Di is the internal diameter of the pipe, are considered to have high bending stiffness, while simply supported specimens with S10.5D i have low bending stiffness. Irrespective of the support conditions and loading type, specimens with high bending stiffness followed a failure mechanism sequence: local resin failure, delamination and the fibre breakage. However, the large global bending experienced by low bending stiffness specimens resulted in a change of failure mechanism, only local damage and surface tensile cracks were observed.