Enhanced Dynamic Energy Absorption in Carbon/Aramid Composite Tubes with Axially Graded Impedance

Saijod Tze Way Lau, Chee Kuang Kok, Md. Injamum Ul Haque, Abdul Rahman Adenan, Sajid Abdullah Alam, Sivakumar Dhar Malingam, Purwo Kadarno, Kia Wai Liew


This study investigated the effects of carbon-aramid arrangement and strain rate on crush tube energy absorption. Round composite tubes, each consisting of three layers of fabric, were made using four different carbon-aramid hybridization schemes. Hand lay-up and compression bladder molding were used in the fabrication process. In two hybridization schemes, carbon-aramid fabrics were arranged to evaluate the effect of axially graded impedance relative to the tube impact end. Static crush and low-velocity impact (LVI) tests were conducted, and the force-displacement responses, energy absorption characteristics, and failure modes were compared. Test results revealed that energy absorption was 20% to 60% higher in the low-velocity impact test than in static crush, regardless of the hybridization schemes. In both tests, material arrangement played a surprisingly important role that was comparable to the tube carbon content in energy absorption. Maximum specific energy absorption of 26.21 kJ/kg was obtained in the hybridization scheme with the low impedance at the initiator end, with increasing impedance towards the impact end. This amount of specific energy absorption is almost equivalent to the other hybridization scheme that has twice the carbon fiber content. This scheme facilitated initial damage modes that favored progressive folding in the rest of the tube. This study presents the idea of enhancing the crashworthiness of crash boxes using axially graded impedance material arrangement. It is recommended that the idea be subjected to more testing for verification and potential commercialization.


Hybrid composite tubes; static and dynamic crush; carbon-aramid system; graded material; crashworthiness

Full Text:



D. Lukaszewicz, "Automotive Composite Structures for Crashworthiness," in Advanced Composite Materials for Automotive Applications: Structural Integrity and Crashworthiness, New Jersey, Wiley, 2013, pp. 99-127.

D. Hui and P. Dutta, "A new concept of shock mitigation by impedance-graded materials," Compos. B, vol. 42, p. 2181–2184, Dec. 2011, DOI: 10.1016/j.compositesb.2011.05.016.

F. Xu, X. Zhang and H. Zhang, "A review on functionally graded structures and materials for energy absorption," Engr. Struct., vol. 171, p. 309–325, Sep. 2018, DOI: 10.1016/j.engstruct.2018.05.094.

J. Xu, Y. Ma, Q. Zhang, T. Sugahara, Y. Yang and H. Hamada, "Crashworthiness of carbon fiber hybrid composite tubes molded by filament winding," Compos. Struct., vol. 139, pp. 130-140, Apr. 2016, DOI: 10.1016/j.compstruct.2015.11.053.

J. Chambe, C. Bouvet, O. Dorival and J. Ferrero, "Energy absorption capacity of composite thin-wall circular tubes under axial crushing with different trigger initiations," J. Compos. Mater., vol. 54, no. 10, pp. 1281-1304, Sep. 2019, DOI: 10.1177/0021998319877221.

Y. Ma, T. Sugahara, Yang, Y. and H. Hamada, "A study on the energy absorption properties of carbon/aramid fiber filament winding composite tube," Compos. Struct., vol. 123, pp. 301-311, May 2015, DOI: 10.1016/j.compstruct.2014.12.067.

C. Isaac and C. Ezekwem, "A review of the crashworthiness performance of energy absorbing composite structure within the context of materials, manufacturing and maintenance for sustainability," Compos. Struct., vol. 257, no. 113081, Feb. 2021, DOI: 10.1016/j.compstruct.2020.113081.

S. Alam, C.K. Kok, S.T.W. Lau, A.R. Adenan, M.I.U. Haque, S.D. Malingam, P. Kadarno and G.M. Chen, "Inward crushing of square and round carbon/aramid multiple-segment tubes under axial quasi-static loading," Compos. Struct., Vols. 311, Article 116826, pp. 1-12, Feb. 2023, DOI: 10.1016/j.compstruct.2023.116826.

G. Jacob, J. Fellers, S. Simunovic and J. Starbuck, "Energy Absorption in Polymer Composites for Automotive Crashworthiness," J. Compos. Mater., vol. 36, no. 7, pp. 813-850, Apr. 2002, DOI: 10.1177/002199830203600716.

D. Chen, Y. Liu, M. Meng, B. Li, X. Sun, B. Yang, S. Xiao and W. T., "Dynamic axial crushing behaviors of circular composite tubes with different reinforcing fibers and triggers," Int. J. Mech. Sci., vol. 244, p. 108083, Apr. 2023, DOI: 10.1016/j.ijmecsci.2022.108083.

M.N. Hussain, S.P. Regalla and Y.V.D. Rao, "Study on influence of notch triggers on absorption of energy for composite automobile crash box under impact loads," Materials Today: Proceedings, vol. 38, no. 5, pp. 3220-3231, Mar. 2021, DOI: 10.1016/j.matpr.2020.09.715.

D. Siromani, G. Henderson, D. Mikita, K. Mirarchi, R. Park, J. Smolko, J. Awerbuch and T.-M. Tan, "An experimental study on the effect of failure trigger mechanisms on the energy absorption capability of CFRP tubes under axial compression," Compos. A, vol. 64, pp. 25-35, Sep. 2014, DOI: 10.1016/j.compositesa.2014.04.019.

Z. Yu, X. Zhou, X. Zhou, Y. Zhang and Q. Zhu, "Crashworthy subfloor structure of civil aircraft via inclined inward-folding composite tubes," Compos. B, vol. 189, p. 107887, May 2020, DOI: 10.1016/j.compositesb.2020.107887.

W. Zuo, Q. Luo, Q. Li and G. Sun, "Effect of thermal and hydrothermal aging on the crashworthiness of carbon fiber reinforced plastic composite tubes," Compos. Struct., vol. 303, p. 116136, Jan. 2023, DOI: 10.1016/j.compstruct.2022.116136 .

J. Gupta, N. Reynolds, T. Chiciudean and K. Kendall, "A comparative study between epoxy and vinyl ester CF-SMC for high volume automotive composite crash structures," Compos. Struct., vol. 244, p. 112299, Jul. 2020, DOI: 10.1016/j.compstruct.2020.112299.

A. Ciampaglia, D. Fiumarella, C. Boursier Niutta, R. Ciardiello and G. Belingardi, "Impact response of an origami-shaped composite crash box: Experimental analysis and numerical optimization," Compos. Struct., vol. 256, p. 113093, Jan. 2021, DOI: 10.1016/j.compstruct.2020.113093.

Z. Song, S. Ming, K. Du, C. Zhou, Y. Wang, S. Xu and B. Wang, "Energy absorption of metal-composite hybrid tubes with a diamond origami pattern," Thin-walled Struct., vol. 180, p. 109824, Nov. 2022, DOI: 10.1016/j.tws.2022.109824.

K. Huang, H. Ye, Z. Yu and X. Zhou, "Energy absorption properties of composite sandwich tubes with pre-folded cores," Compos. Struct., vol. 294, p. 115737, Aug. 2022, DOI: 10.1016/j.compstruct.2022.115737.

Y. Duan, T. Zhang, J. Zhou, H. Xiao, X. Chen, M. Al Teneiji, Z.W. Guan and W.J. Cantwell, "Energy-absorbing characteristics of hollow-cylindrical hierarchical honeycomb composite tubes inspired a beetle forewing," Compos. Struct., vol. 278, p. 114637, Dec. 2021, DOI: 10.1016/j.compstruct.2021.114637.

J. Xing, J. Zhao, Q. Niu, T. Zhang, C. Zhang, Y. Zhang, W. Wang, S. Yan and X. Liu, "Crashworthiness design and optimization of bamboo-inspired tube with gradient multi-cells," Thin-Walled Struct., vol. 191, p. 111034, Oct. 2023, DOI: 10.1016/j.tws.2023.111034.

N. Abdullah, M. Sani, M. Salwani and N. Husain, "A review on crashworthiness studies of crash box structure," Thin-walled Struct., vol. 153, p. 106795, Aug. 2020, DOI: 10.1016/j.tws.2020.106795.

T.A. Sebaey, D.K. Rajak and H. Mehboob, "Internally stiffened foam-filled carbon fiber reinforced composite tubes under impact loading for energy absorption applications," Compos. Struct., vol. 255, p. 112910, Jan. 2021, DOI: 10.1016/j.compstruct.2020.112910.

D. Meriç and H. Gedikli, "Multi-objective optimization of energy absorbing behavior of foam-filled hybrid composite tubes," Compos. Struct., vol. 279, p. 114771, Jan. 2022, DOI: 10.1016/j.compstruct.2021.114771.

W. Hou, P. He, Y. Yang and L. Sang, "Crashworthiness optimization of crash box with 3D-printed lattice structures," Int. J. Mech. Sci., vol. 247, p. 108198, Jun. 2023, DOI: 10.1016/j.ijmecsci.2023.108198.

I. Ozen, H. Gedikli and M. Aslan, "Experimental and numerical investigation on energy absorbing characteristics of empty and cellular filled composite crash boxes," Engr. Struct., vol. 289, p. 116315, Aug. 2023, DOI: 10.1016/j.engstruct.2023.116315.

C. Yang, Z. Chen, S. Yao, P. Xu, S. Li and M.S. Alqahtani, "Quasi-static and low-velocity axial crushing of polyurethane foam-filled aluminium/CFRP composite tubes: An experimental study," Compos. Struct., vol. 299, p. 116083, Nov. 2022, DOI: 10.1016/j.compstruct.2022.116083.

Y. Deng, Y. Ren, X. Fu and H. Jiang, "Bionic-bamboo design for enhancing the crashworthiness of composite tube with groove trigger subjected to oblique load," Int. J. Mech. Sci., vol. 206, p. 106635, Sep. 2021, DOI: 10.1016/j.ijmecsci.2021.106635.

S.F. Hwang, C.-Y. Wu and H.-K. Liu, "Crashworthiness of Aluminum Composite Hybrid Tubes," App. Compos. Mater., vol. 28, p. 409–426, Feb. 2021, DOI: 10.1007/s10443-020-09851-1.

H. Yang, H. Lei and G. Lu, "Crashworthiness of circular fiber reinforced plastic tubes filled with composite skeletons/aluminum foam under drop-weight impact loading," Thin–Walled Struct., vol. 160, p. 107380, Mar. 2021, DOI: 10.1016/j.tws.2020.107380.

H. Alshahrani, B. Almeshari, M.A. Abd El-baky and T.A. Sebaey, "Crashworthiness assessment of foam-filled internally strengthened carbon fibre-reinforced composite tubes under axial compression," Int. J. Crashworthiness, Apr. 2023, DOI: 10.1080/13588265.2023.2198832.

D. Chen, X. Sun, B. Li, Y. Liu, T. Zhu and S. Xiao, "On Crashworthiness and Energy-Absorbing Mechanisms of Thick CFRP Structures for Railway Vehicles," Polymers, vol. 14, p. 4795, Nov. 2022, DOI: 10.3390/polym14224795.

M. Moure, N. Feito, J. Aranda-Ruiz, J. Loya and M. Rodriguez-Millan, "On the characterization and modelling of high-performance para-aramid fabrics," Compos. Struct., vol. 212, p. 326–337, Mar. 2019, DOI: 10.1016/j.compstruct.2019.01.049.

J. Littell, J. Putnam and R. Hardy, "The Evaluation of Composite Energy Absorbers for use in UAM eVTOL Vehicle Impact Attenuation," in VFS 75th Annual Forum and Technology Display, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2019. [Online]. Available: https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/323103972.pdf.

Y. Wang, J. Feng, J. Wu and D. Hu, "Effects of fiber orientation and wall thickness on energy absorption characteristics of carbon-reinforced composite tubes under different loading conditions," Compos. Struct., vol. 153, pp. 356-368, Oct. 2016, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compstruct.2016.06.033.

G. Ryzińska and R. Gieleta, "Effect of Test Velocity on the Specific Energy Absorption under Progressive Crushing of Composite Tubes," Adv. Sci. Tech. Res. J. , vol. 14, no. 2, p. 94–102, Jun. 2020, DOI: 10.12913/22998624/118551.

J.-E. Chambe, C. Bouvet, O. Dorival, S. Rivallant and J.-F. Ferrero, "Effects of dynamics and trigger on energy absorption of composite tubes during axial crushing," Int. J. Crashworthiness, vol. 26, no. 5, pp. 549-567, Apr. 2020, DOI: 10.1080/13588265.2020.1766175.

Q. Ma, I. Sahat, M. Mat Rejab, S. Hassan, B. Zhang and M. Merzuki, "The energy-absorbing characteristics of filament wound hybrid carbon fiber-reinforced plastic/polylactic acid tubes with different infill pattern structures," J. Reinf. Plast. Compos., vol. 38, no. 23-24, p. 1067–1088, Aug. 2019, DOI: 10.1177/0731684419868018.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18517/ijaseit.13.5.19050


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Published by INSIGHT - Indonesian Society for Knowledge and Human Development