Composite lattice structures known as the IsoBeam™ made with unidirectional carbon/epoxy were manufactured and tested in shear-dominated bending. The manufacturing process consisted of placing tows of carbon fiber pre-impregnated with epoxy resin onto a pin-type mandrel to create members with interwoven joints. The members were consolidated with a half spiral aramid sleeve. The IsoBeam structure consists of two main types of members: longitudinal and diagonal members measuring nominally 0.4 in. (10.2 mm) and 0.2 in. (5.1 mm) in diameter, respectively. The hand-manufactured specimens measured nominally 6 in. (152.4 mm) high by 3 in. (76.2 mm) wide by 2 ft (0.61 m) long with 4 bays, each 6 in. (152.4 mm) long. The beams weighed between 1.82-1.86 lbs (8.09-8.27 N). A finite element analysis of the IsoBeam was compared to the experimental results. The IsoBeam specimens were tested in four-point or three-point bending but were dominated by shear due to short-beam bending because of the low length/height aspect ratio. After testing to failure, individual members that were lightly loaded and appeared to be undamaged were removed and tested in axial compression. The void percentage and fiber volume fraction were also measured. The average maximum strength of the IsoBeam structure was 4.11 kips (18.3 kN), yielding an equivalent shear of 2.06 kips (9.15 kN) and bending moment of 20.2 kip-in (2.29 kN-m). This strength was lower than expected and is attributed primarily to low material quality, insufficient consolidation of members, and inadequate tension on the tows during manufacturing. The structure exhibited ductile behavior absorbing considerable energy after initial failure, as well as exhibiting damage tolerance due to the inherent structural redundancy. The inner diagonal members which are inherently stiffer exhibited higher strains than the side outer diagonal members after initial failure. The members removed and tested exhibited an average compression strength of 86.9 ksi (599 MPa) and compression modulus of 17.8 Msi (122 GPa) which are both lower than observed in members tested in past research. The diagonal members had a higher strength of 111 ksi (767 MPa) than the longitudinal member's compression strength of 62.5 ksi (431 MPa). Most members were seen to have a high percentage of voids with an average of 4.3% for diagonal members and 6.4% for longitudinal members. The average fiber volume fraction content of members was very low at 38%. The linear finite element analysis of the IsoBeam structure predicted failure at a load of 34 kips (151 kN). Without considering buckling, the first member predicted to fail was a vertical outer diagonal. This research demonstrates that increasing the manufacturing quality should yield an IsoBeam structure that is strong, ductile and damage tolerant.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Civil and Environmental Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





IsoBeam, IsoTruss, shear, composite lattice, carbon fiber, finite element analysis