Novel filler materials for composite out-of-plane joints

Zsombor Sápi, Sam Hutchins, Richard Butler, Andrew T. Rhead

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (SciVal)
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In the manufacture of the out-of-plane joints of composite stiffened panels, such as the connection between skin and T, I, omega shaped stiffeners, a filler material is needed to fill the void between the flanges, web and skin. The most common filler is a rolled unidirectional prepreg tape (“noodle”), which is not only expensive to manufacture, but also has low strength that can lead to premature failure of the loaded joint. In this work, eight novel filler concepts are introduced and experimentally validated against the baseline noodle via T-joint tensile tests. Polyamide nonwoven interleaved joints increase the damage tolerance of the structure and nonwoven nanofibres increase the failure initiation load. 3D printed fillers have lower strength but demonstrate the possibility of thermoplastic-thermoset hybrid structures. Fillers made of chopped prepreg match the strength of the baseline noodle and can serve as a low cost replacement. Another low cost, resin infused braided concept has lower strength, but its counterpart using multiple individual braids has the same strength as the unidirectional noodle. Moreover, the latter concept shows that different resin systems can be cured together without causing a knockdown in strength, and can serve as a basis for a range of novel applications.
Original languageEnglish
Article number111382
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalComposite Structures
Early online date11 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


  • Deltoid
  • Noodle
  • Stiffened panel
  • Stiffener
  • T-joint

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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