Compressive strength of delaminated aerospace composites

Richard Butler, Andrew T Rhead, Wenli Liu, Nikolaos Kontis

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An efficient analytical model is described which predicts the value of compressive strain below which buckle-driven propagation of delaminations in aerospace composites will not occur. An extension of this efficient strip model which accounts for propagation transverse to the direction of applied compression is derived. In order to provide validation for the strip model a number of laminates were artificially delaminated producing a range of thin anisotropic sub-laminates made up of 0°, ±45° and 90° plies that displayed varied buckling and delamination propagation phenomena. These laminates were subsequently subject to experimental compression testing and nonlinear finite element analysis (FEA) using cohesive elements. Comparison of strip model results with those from experiments indicates that the model can conservatively predict the strain at which propagation occurs to within 10 per cent of experimental values provided (i) the thin-film assumption made in the modelling methodology holds and (ii) full elastic coupling effects do not play a significant role in the post-buckling of the sub-laminate. With such provision, the model was more accurate and produced fewer non-conservative results than FEA. The accuracy and efficiency of the model make it well suited to application in optimum ply-stacking algorithms to maximize laminate strength.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1759-1779
Number of pages21
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number1965
Early online date19 Mar 2012
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2012


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