Recent research works in the area of experimental and computational analyses of microscale mechanisms of strength, damage and degradation of glass fiber polymer composites for wind energy applications, which were carried out in the framework of a series of Sino–Danish collaborative research projects, are summarized in this article. In a series of scanning electron microscopy in situ experimental studies of composite degradation under off-axis tensile, compressive and cyclic loadings as well as three-dimensional computational experiments based on micromechanics of composites and damage mechanics, typical damage mechanisms of wind turbine blade composites were clarified. It was demonstrated that the damage mechanisms in the composites strongly depend on the orientation angle of the applied loading with the fiber direction. The matrix cracking was observed to be the main damage mechanism for tensile axial (or slightly off-axis axial) loading; for all other cases (off-axis tensile, compressive and cyclic tensile loadings), the interface debonding and shear control the damage mechanisms.
Journal of Composite Materials, 2014, Vol 48, Issue 24, p. 2977-2991