All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Krishan Chawla

Advisory Committee Members

Uday Vaidya

Derrick Dean

Nikhilesh Chawla

Mark Weaver

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Engineering


In the present work we have characterized the mechanical behavior of long fiber thermoplastic (LFT) composites (21% E-glass fiber/polypropylene) under different conditions. We start by comparing the elastic modulus of LFT predicted by a microstructure-based approach called Object Oriented Finite (OOF) element method, and compare the result with prediction from various models commonly used in the literature and the experimental value. The predictions from the models used currently in the literature did not agree well with the experimental value due to the assumptions inherent in the models. The prediction by OOF was the closest to the experimental value because of the microstructure based approach which takes into account the fiber distribution and orientation during the finite element calculation. This was followed by characterization of fatigue behavior of LFT. Samples tested along longitudinal direction showed a higher fatigue life than the transverse samples because of the preferred orientation of the fibers along the longitudinal direction developed during the processing of LFT by extrusioncompression molding process. Fatigue life decreased with increase in frequency. Hysteretic energy loss and temperature rise were measured; they depended on the stress amplitude as well as the cyclic frequency. LFT composite showed a lower temperature rise compared to neat PP because LFT has higher thermal conductivity than neat PP and thus faster heat dissipation to the surroundings occur. The hysteretic heating also led to decrease in the modulus of LFT as a function of number of cycles. The last part of the iii work was to study the effect of ultraviolet (UV) exposure on the microstructure and mechanical properties of LFT. Microscopic observations revealed that the damage due to UV was confined only to the surface region in the form of surface cracking and exposure of fibers to the surface in the case of LFT. FTIR and nanoindentation results showed that there was a large increase in the crystallinity and local modulus of the surface layer due to UV exposure. The change in crystallinity and modulus of the surface layer occurs by chemicrystallization wherein the broken, smaller chains due to UV radiation rearrange into more crystalline form. This increase in crystallinity causes increase in the modulus of surface layer and results in cracking of the surface because tensile residual stresses are generated in the surface layer due to the change in crystallinity. The overall modulus of the LFT, however, decreased with increasing UV exposure time due to the formation of surface cracks.

Included in

Engineering Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.