Damage tolerance is of critical importance to laminated composite structures. In this paper, we present a new semi-analytical method for predicting the strain at which delamination propagation will initiate following sublaminate buckling. The method uses a numerical strip model to determine the thin-film buckling strain of an anisotropic sub-laminate created by delamination, before evaluating the strain energy release rate for delamination propagation. The formulation assumes that all energy is available for propagation in a peeling mode (Mode I); avoiding an approximate mixed-mode criterion. Results are compared with twelve experimentally obtained propagations strains, covering a variety of laminates each containing a circular PTFE delamination. Comparison shows agreement to within 12% for balanced sublaminate tests in which delamination propagation occurred before intra-ply cracking. The method can be used to significantly improve the damage tolerance of laminates, opening up new opportunities for structural efficiency using elastic tailoring, non-standard ply angles and material optimisation.
- Damage tolerance
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ceramics and Composites
- Civil and Structural Engineering