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This article begins with a review of the purposes of mechanical characterization tests and the general considerations related to the mechanical properties of anisotropic systems, specimen fabrication, equipment and fixturing, environmental conditioning, and analysis of test results. It provides information on the specimen preparation, instrumentation, and procedures for various mechanical test methods of fiber-reinforced composites. These include the compression test, flexure test, shear test, open hole tension test, and compression after impact test. The article describes three distinct fracture modes, namely, crack opening mode, shearing mode, and tearing mode. It presents an overview of fatigue testing and fatigue damage mechanisms of composite materials and reviews the types of mechanical measurements that can be made during the course of testing to assess fatigue damage. The article concludes with a discussion on the split-Hopkinson pressure bar test.

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