Analysis of fracture and delamination in laminates using 3D numerical modelling

M.V. Cid Alfaro, A.S.J. Suiker, R. Borst, de, J.J.C. Remmers

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The static failure behaviour of the fibre-metal laminate GLARE is examined using 3D finite element simulations. The configuration analysed is a centre-cracked tensile specimen composed of two aluminium layers sandwiching a cross-plied, fibre-epoxy layer. The crack and delamination growths are simulated by means of interface elements equipped with a mixed-mode damage model. The mode-mixity is derived from an energy criterion typically used in linear elastic fracture mechanics studies. The damage kinetic law is rate-dependent, in order to simulate rate effects during interfacial delamination and to avoid numerical convergence problems due to crack bifurcations. The numerical implementation of the interface damage model is based on a backward Euler approach. In the boundary value problem studied, the failure responses of GLARE specimens containing elastic aluminium layers and elasto-plastic aluminium layers are compared. The development of plastic deformations in the aluminium layers stabilizes the effective failure response, and increases the residual strength of the laminate. For a 'quasi-brittle' GLARE specimen with elastic aluminium layers, the residual strength is governed by the toughness for interfacial delamination, and is in close correspondence with the residual strength obtained from a closed-form expression derived from energy considerations. Conversely, for a 'ductile' GLARE specimen with elasto-plastic aluminium layers, the residual strength is also determined by the relation between the fracture strength and the yield strength of the aluminium. The amount of constraint by the horizontal displacements at the vertical specimen edges has a moderate to small influence on the residual strength. Furthermore, the ultimate laminate strength is lower for a larger initial crack length, and shows to be in good correspondence with experimental values. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)761-780
JournalEngineering Fracture Mechanics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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