• Impact Damage Characteristics of Carbon Fibre Metal Laminates: Experiments and Simulation

      Shi, Yu; Soutis, Constantinos; Pinna, Christophe; University of Chester; The University of Sheffield; The University of Manchester
      In this work, the impact response of carbon fibre metal laminates (FMLs) was experimentally and numerically studied with an improved design of the fibre composite lay-up for optimal mechanical properties and damage resistance. Two different stacking sequences (Carall 3–3/2–0.5 and Carall 5–3/2–0.5) were designed and characterised. Damage at relatively low energy impact energies (≤30 J) was investigated using Ultrasonic C-scanning and X–ray Computed Tomography (X-RCT). A 3D finite element model was developed to simulate the impact induced damage in both metal and composite layers using Abaqus/Explicit. Cohesive zone elements were introduced to capture delamination occurring between carbon fibre/epoxy plies and debonding at the interfaces between aluminium and the composite layers. Carall 5–3/2–0.5 was found to absorb more energy elastically, which indicates better resistance to damage. A good agreement is obtained between the numerically predicted results and experimental measurements in terms of force and absorbed energy during impact where the damage modes such as delamination was well simulated when compared to non-destructive techniques (NDT).
    • Interface Cohesive Elements to Model Matrix Crack Evolution in Composite Laminates

      Shi, Yu; Pinna, Christophe; Soutis, Constantinos; University of Chester; University of Sheffield; University of Manchester (Springer, 2013-10-02)
      In this paper, the transverse matrix (resin) cracking developed in multidirectional composite laminates loaded in tension was numerically investigated by a finite element (FE) model implemented in the commercially available software Abaqus/Explicit 6.10. A theoretical solution using the equivalent constraint model (ECM) of the damaged laminate developed by Soutis et al. was employed to describe matrix cracking evolution and compared to the proposed numerical approach. In the numerical model, interface cohesive elements were inserted between neighbouring finite elements that run parallel to fibre orientation in each lamina to simulate matrix cracking with the assumption of equally spaced cracks (based on experimental measurements and observations). The stress based traction-separation law was introduced to simulate initiation of matrix cracking and propagation under mixed-mode loading. The numerically predicted crack density was found to depend on the mesh size of the model and the material fracture parameters defined for the cohesive elements. Numerical predictions of matrix crack density as a function of applied stress are in a good agreement to experimentally measured and theoretically (ECM) obtained values, but some further refinement will be required in near future work.
    • Low-velocity impact of composite laminates: damage evolution

      Shi, Yu; Pinna, Christophe; Soutis, Constantinos; University of Chester; University of Sheffield; University of Manchester (Woodhead Publishing, 2016-02-19)
      This chapter presents modelling procedures used to simulate damage evolution in composite laminates used in aircraft structures when subjected to low-energy-level impact (≤15 J). Damage models for both initiation and evolution are first introduced by considering the individual damage modes of composite laminates in the form of intra- and inter-laminar damage mechanisms. The implementation of these damage criteria into the user subroutine Vumat of the finite element code Abaqus is then described for the simulation of damage development during low-velocity impact tests. Finite element prediction is then compared to experimental load-time measurements and damage extent obtained using X-rays as a non-destructive technique (NDT). Further development of the model is then presented by simulating matrix cracking evolution and splitting using a fracture mechanics-based criterion approach implemented into a cohesive zone element (CZE) formulation. Results from the extended model show clear improvement in terms of the accuracy of damage prediction, with experimental observations of the damage modes operating at ply-level providing further validation of the model. This can be used at an early stage of the design process of optimising laminate configurations used in aircraft structural applications.
    • Modelling impact damage in composite laminates: A simulation of intra- and inter-laminar cracking

      Pinna, Christophe; Soutis, Constantinos; Shi, Yu; University of Chester; University of Sheffield; University of Manchester (Elsevier, 2014-04-12)
      In this work, stress- and fracture mechanics-based criteria are developed to predict initiation and evolution, respectively, of intra- and inter-laminar cracking developed in composite laminates subjected to a relatively low energy impact (⩽15 J) with consideration of nonlinear shear behaviour. The damage model was implemented in the finite element (FE) code (Abaqus/Explicit) through a user-defined material subroutine (VUMAT). Delamination (or inter-laminar cracking) was modelled using interface cohesive elements while splitting and transverse matrix cracks (intralaminar cracking) that appeared within individual plies were also simulated by inserting cohesive elements along the fibre direction (at a crack spacing determined from experiments for computing efficiency). A good agreement is obtained when the numerically predicted results are compared to both experimentally obtained curves of impact force and absorbed energy versus time and X-ray radiography damage images, provided the interface element stiffness is carefully selected. This gives confidence to selected fracture criteria and assists to identify material fracture parameters that influence damage resistance of modern composite material systems.