The effects of porosity on the matrix-dominated mechanical properties of unidirectional carbon fiber-reinforced plastic composites were evaluated using X-ray computed tomography and mechanical testing. Carbon fiber-reinforced plastic plates of four porosity levels were manufactured by implementing different curing cycles. Porosity was detected by X-ray computed tomography tests, conducted on samples taken from the plates, and quantified by analyzing the computed tomography scans using the VGStudio Max software. Four different types of mechanical tests were conducted; namely, transverse tension, V-notched rail shear, three-point bending, and short-beam shear tests. The porosity analysis showed that with increasing the porosity volume fraction, the number of pores decreases, their volume increases while their shape changes from spherical or ellipsoidal to a needle-shape. The results from mechanical tests reveal that the presence of pores reduces all matrix-dominated material properties of the UniDirectional (UD) carbon fiber-reinforced plastic material. The reduction in strength is greater than the reduction in the elastic properties. Moreover, the reduction in the in-plane shear and interlaminar properties is greater than the tensile properties of the UD carbon fiber-reinforced plastic material. Between porosity contents of similar volume fraction, the one with the few large pores proved more severe than the one with the many small pores. The large standard deviation observed for some of the tests is attributed to the non-uniform dispersion of pores.
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