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Low-velocity impact of composite laminates: damage evolutionThis 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.