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A SUMMARY AND REVIEW OF COMPOSITE LAMINATE DESIGN GUIDELINES

The purpose of this study is to review many of the available design guidelines for unidirectional tape, laminated aerospace composite panels. Guidelines for bonded and bolted joints, cutouts, and durability and damage tolerance are also presented, as they strongly influence designs for production aircraft. These guidelines are accompanied by explanations of why each one was generated and the influence each one has on the structural performance of various aircraft components. Most of these guidelines were developed during actual construction of relatively simple aircraft components in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Unfortunately, generally available literature detailing the derivation of these guidelines is scarce; hence, it was made necessary to obtain information directly from various aerospace engineering organizations and notes presented in lectures. The scarcity of formal documentation may also be due, in part, to the fact that many lessons were learned when unpredicted failures occurred during early
development programs that are only now being declassified. 

The present review is focused on composite laminates made of graphite fibers embedded in a polymer matrix since use of such laminates is increasing in highly loaded aerospace primary structures. Simple analyses and data are presented to illustrate the basis for many of the guidelines.

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