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For delamination in geology, see Delamination (geology). For delamination in embryology, see Embryogenesis.
Delamination of CFRP under compression load

Delamination is a mode of failure for composite materials[1] and steel.[2] In laminated materials, repeated cyclic stresses, impact, and so on can cause layers to separate, forming a mica-like structure of separate layers, with significant loss of mechanical toughness. Delamination also occurs in reinforced concrete structures subject to reinforcement corrosion, in which case the oxidized metal of the reinforcement is greater in volume than the original metal. The oxidized metal therefore requires greater space than the original reinforcing bars, which causes a wedge-like stress on the concrete. This force eventually overcomes the relatively weak tensile strength of concrete, resulting in a separation (or delamination) of the concrete above and below the reinforcing bars.

Fiber pull-out (another form of failure mechanism) and delamination can occur, in part, due to weak adhesive bonding between the fibers and the polymer matrix.[3]

Delamination failure may be detected in the material by its sound; solid composite has bright sound, while delaminated part sounds dull, reinforced concrete sounds solid, whereas delaminated concrete will have a light drum-like sound when exposed to a dragged chain pulled across its surface. Bridge decks in cold climate countries which use de-icing salts and chemicals are commonly subject to delamination and as such are typically scheduled for annual inspection by chain-dragging as well as subsequent patch repairs of the surface. Other nondestructive testing methods are used, including embedding optical fibers coupled with optical time domain reflectometer testing of their state, testing with ultrasound, radiographic imaging, and infrared imaging.

Some manufacturers of carbon composite bike frames suggest disposing of the frame after a crash, because the impact could have created flaws inside the material.

As there is increasing use of composite materials in aircraft construction (e.g. the Boeing 787 and the Airbus A350), delamination is an air safety concern, especially in the tail sections of the airplanes.


  1. ^ WJ Cantwell, J Morton (1991). "The impact resistance of composite materials -- a review". Composites 22 (5): 347–62. doi:10.1016/0010-4361(91)90549-V. 
  2. ^ B. L. Bramfitt, A. R. Marder (1979). "A Study of the Delamination Behavior of aa Very Low-Carbon Steel". Metallurgical Transactions A. 
  3. ^ Serope Kalpakjian; Steven R. Schmid (2001). Manufacturing Engineering and Technology. ISBN 978-0-13-017440-6. [page needed]