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Shear Strength in Composite Materials

Shear strength is an important mechanical property for composite design engineers in many applications. In composites with layers (laminates), a unique shear condition called inter-laminar shear exists between the layers of reinforcement.  As a designer, it is essential to understand how to avoid conditions where shear stress can create failures in a composite.

This report will cover the differences between standard shear and interlaminar shear and four primary factors that can be optimized for improved shear strength: matrix, fiber orientation, fiber content, and flaws.  The report also explains the different types of standard shear strength test methods and includes examples of some custom shear strength test methods.

Shear stress diagram showing two shearing mechanisms on a block.