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Degradation of Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer and Graphite by Laser Heating

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Technical Report

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Air Force Institute of Technology WPAFB

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The availability of high power, diode pumped solid state and fiber lasers at powers 10 kW and shorter wavelengths 1.07 micrometer has invigorated the development of tactical laser weapons. This shift to tactical missions greatly increases the variety of potential targets including carbon fiber reinforced polymers and related materials. The complexity of laser-material interactions has driven a historical reliance on live-fire testing and empirical models, but this becomes more difficult as the number of target materials grow. This dissertation combines thermal imagery and existing thermal models of the fire response of composite materials to develop ahybrid modeling approach of laser-induced material heating and degradation. The resulting approach is used to develop thermal models of carbon fiber reinforced polymer and graphite materials and applied to the modeling of remaining composite compressive strength after laser irradiation. The dependence of laser-induced surface ignition on surface temperatures and the concentrations of combustible decomposition products is also explored.

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