This article presents the first use of synchrotron radiation computed tomography (SRCT) to achieve sub-micron resolution of damage in aerospace grade carbon fiber–epoxy composites. The structure and interaction of the damage can be visualized in 3-D on a scale not previously observed in practical engineering configurations. The ability to detect and accurately measure features down to individual fiber breaks provides a valuable platform for future research; from the rigorous evaluation of damage models to understanding the fundamental physical mechanisms governing crack growth in composites. In particular the key role of intra-laminar cracks and delaminations in localizing fiber fractures is unambiguously identified for the first time
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