Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Kenneth L. Reifsnider


Fiber reinforced polymer matrix composite materials have many unique properties and their high performance makes them available to use in many advanced technologies i.e. aerospace, microelectronics, and energy storage. There is a correlation that exists between the long term behavior of those materials under combined mechanical, thermal, and electrical fields, and the functional properties and characteristics of the composite materials that requires a fundamental understanding of the material state changes caused by deformation and damage accumulation. This will ultimately lead, for example, to the design and synthesis of optimal multifunctional material systems. Composite materials are heterogeneous and the complex morphology of these material systems has been investigated for decades to achieve multi-functionality and reliable performance in extreme environments. These heterogeneous materials are inherently dielectric. Broadband Dielectric Spectroscopy (BbDS) is a robust tool for dielectric material characterization often used in polymer industries. In composite processing this method is employed to monitor the composite curing process. Dielectric spectra of heterogeneous materials are altered by many factors, e.g., electrical and structural interactions between particles, morphological heterogeneity, and shape and orientation of the constituent phases of the material system. During the service life of composites, damage occurs progressively and accumulates inside the materials. The process of microdefect interaction and accumulation to create a final fracture path is an active research area.