Meshfree and partition of unity methods for the analysis of composite materials

  • Ettore Barbieri

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


The proposed research is essentially concerned on numerical simulation of materials and structures commonly used in the aerospace industry. The work is primarily focused on the study of the fracture mechanics with emphasis to composite materials, which are widely employed in the aerospace and automotive industry.Since human lives are involved, it is highly important to know how such structures react in case of failure and, possibly, how to prevent them with an adequate design.It has become of primary importance to simulate the material response in composite, especially considering that even a crack, which could be invisible from the outside, can propagate throughout the structure with small external loads and lead to unrecoverable fracture of the structure. In addition, structures made in composite often present a complex behaviour, due to their unconventional elastic properties.A numerical simulation is then a starting point of an innovative andsafe design.Conventional techniques (nite elements for example) are not su-cient or simply not ecient in providing a satisfactory description of these phenomena. In fact, being based on the continuum assumption, mesh-based techniques suer of a native incapacity of simulating discontinuities.Novel numerical methods, known as Meshless Methods or Meshfree Methods (MM) and, in a wider perspective, Partition of Unity Methods (PUM), promise to overcome all the disadvantages of the traditional finite element techniques.The absence of a mesh makes MM very attractive for those problems involving large deformations, moving boundaries and crack propagation.However, MM still have signicant limitations that prevent their acceptance among researchers and engineers. Because of the infancy of these methods, more efforts should be made in order to improve their performances, with particular attention to the computational time.In summary, the proposed research will look at the attractive possibilitiesoffered by these methods for the study of failure in composite materials and the subsequent propagation of cracks.
Date of Award24 Nov 2010
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorMichele Meo (Supervisor)


  • meshfree
  • numerical methods
  • fracture mechanics
  • delamination
  • composite materials

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