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Analyzing the structure of composite materials is essential for understanding how the part will perform in service. Assessing fiber volume variations, void content, ply orientation variability, and foreign object inclusions helps in preventing degradation of composite performance. This article describes the optical microscopy and bright-field illumination techniques involved in analyzing ply terminations, prepreg plies, splices, and fiber orientation to provide the insight necessary for optimizing composite structure and performance.

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Brian S. Hayes, Luther M. Gammon, Composite Structure Analysis, Metallography and Microstructures, Vol 9, ASM Handbook, Edited By George F. Vander Voort, ASM International, 2004,

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