This article begins with an overview of why structural element and subcomponent testing are conducted, including a discussion on the different types of failure modes in composites. It discusses the testing methodology, fixturing, instrumentation, and data reporting, and reviews various standard elements to characterize composite materials for the various failure modes. Simple structural-element testing under in-plane unidirectional, multidirectional, and combined loading, as well as out-of-plane loading are discussed. Simple bolted and bonded joints, as well as data correlation are reviewed with analytical predictions. The article provides the list of ASTM testing standards applicable at the element level of testing for both polymer-matrix composites and metal-matrix composites. It concludes with a discussion on durability and damage tolerance testing.
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