Failure
FPF
LPF
Fig. 1 Progressive damage of a
composite laminate
658 Appl Compos Mater (2012) 19:657668
The aim of this paper is to analyse the behaviour of a composite structures subjected
to static loads taking into account onset and progression of damage. These analyses will
be performed by using a progressive failure technique implemented as user material
subroutine in the finite element code ANSYS . The accuracy of the numerical results
will be assessed through the comparison between numerical and reference experimental
data taken from literature.
2 Progressive Failure Methodology
Composite materials behave differently under tension and compression loads, therefore it is
necessary to define five dissimilar strength parameters shown in Fig. 2 [25].
Failure criteria for composite laminates are mainly analytical approximations or
curve fittings of experimental results. Most failure criteria for composite material (TsaiHill,
TsaiWu and Hoffman criteria) have been thought as an extension of the Von Mises criterion to a
quadratic criterion [8] and allow the failure of a whole ply to be checked. The Hashins [6]
criteria differs slightly from the latter and they allow to distinguish between failure in tension
and in compression and to take into account a three dimensional state of stress (Table 1).
It is worth noting that in Table 1 two different shear strengths are defined respectively in
the 12 plane (axial failure shear S
12
) and in 23 plane (transverse failure shear).
The criterion in Eq. 1 has been chosen, among those available in literature to check for
the onset of delaminations.
Delamination onset
s
33
Z
t
2
s
23
S
23
2
s
13
S
13
2
1 1
Degradation of plies that have partially or completely failed is a critical phase for the
prediction of the ultimate failure. As plies fail progressively, strain energy of all plies must
be redistributed and this induces a modification of the stress within the material.
Degradation rules or ply discount techniques, such as those proposed in Table 2, can be
used to reduce the stiffness of damaged plies in order to reflect the presence of matrix
cracks, fiber failure and of the other damage modes.
1
2
X
T
: Longitudinal tensile strenght
1
>0
Xc: Longitudinal compressive strenght
1
<0
Yt: Transverse tensile strenght
2
>0
2
<0
Yc: Transverse compressive strenght
6
<0
S: In plane strenght
Fig. 2 Strength parameters for composite laminates referred to the material principal axes [25]
Appl Compos Mater (2012) 19:657668 659
Different degradation rules are available in literature [917]. However, most of them are
based on the introduction of a degradation factor (k in Table 2) that allows the stiffness of
damaged plies to be reduced to a percentage of their own value in the undamaged state.
Unfortunately, there is no correlation between the physics of damage mechanisms and the
degradation factor, whose value is always selected by chance.
By using these degradation rules, it is possible to follow the progression of the damage and
to determine the strength beyond the first ply failure by means of progressive failure procedures.
The basic steps of these procedures may be synthesised as: determination of the stresses
distribution on a ply by ply basis (material axes), application of failure criteria for each ply,
degradation of the material properties to take into account the typical postdamage stiffness
reduction of the material.
Failure mode Material properties
degradation rules
Matrix failure
(tension)
s
yy
> 0
E
y
kE
y
; G
xy
kG
xy
Matrix failure
(compression)
s
yy
< 0
Fiber failure
(tension)
s
xx
> 0
All the properties are
reduced.
Fiber failure
(compressione)
s
xx
< 0
Fiber matrix failure
(shearout)
s
xx
> 0 E
y
kE
y
; v
xy
kv
xy
;
v
yz
kv
yz
Delamination
onset
E
z
kE
z
Table 2 Ply discount technique
(k is a degradation factor).
Properties indicated without a
bar are those of the
undamaged ply
Table 1 Hashins failure criteria
Matrix tensile failure
s
22
s
33
> 0
s
22
s
33
Y
t
2
s
2
12
s
2
13
S
2
12
s
2
23
s
22
s
33
S
2
23
1
Matrix compressive failure
s
22
s
33
< 0
1
Y
C
Y
C
2S
23
2
1
s
22
s
33
1
4S
2
23
s
22
s
33
2
1
S
2
23
s
2
23
s
22
s
33
1
S
2
12
s
2
12
s
2
13
1
Fibre tensile failure
s
11
> 0
s
11
X
t
2
1
S
2
12
s
2
12
s
2
13
1
Fibre compressive failure
s
11
< 0
s
11
X
c
1
Fibermatrix shear failure
s
11
X
t
2
s
12
S
12
2
1
660 Appl Compos Mater (2012) 19:657668
3 User Material Subroutine for Progressive Failure Analysis (Intralaminar Damage)
A user material subroutine (usermat [26]) in ANSYS allows a constitutive material model
to be defined. This subroutine is called at each material integration point of the elements
during the solution phase. ANSYS passes in stresses, strains, and state variable values at the
beginning of the time (or load) increment and strain increment at the current increment,
then updates the stresses and state variables, according to the values defined by the usermat,
at the end of the time (or load) increment [26].
A progressive failure technique has been implemented in ANSYS as usermat. This
routine is based on failure criteria in Table 1 and the instantaneous degradation rules in
Table 2. The stiffness of the composite is provided as material Jacobian matrix defined as
@s
ij
=@"
ij
where s
ij
is the stress increment, and "
ij
is the strain increment within a
W
L
STACKING SEQUENCE: [45/90/45/0]
S
t
(b)
(a)
L 118mm
W 38mm
d 6.35mm
t 1.1mm
Longitudinal tensile modulus 148 GPa Longitudinal tensile
strength
2000 MPa
Transverse tensile modulus 9.5 GPa Transverse tensile strength 50 MPa
Poisson ratio 12 and 13 0.3 Longitudinal compressive
strength
1500 MPa
Poisson ratio 23 0.49 Transverse compressive
strength
150 MPa
In plane shear modulus 1213 4.5 GPa In plane shear strength 100 MPa
In plane shear modulus 23 3.17GPa
d
Fig. 3 Geometry and material properties description
Table 3 Advantages and disadvantages of using a usermat
User material subroutine (Fortran) Postprocessing routine (APDL)
Time for the analysis Only one processor should be used. More than one processor can be used.
The solution can be found without stop
and restart the analysis.
The analysis must be performed as
succession of analyses (stop, increment
of the load, restart).
Applicability Whichever structure without requiring
any modifications.
If the mesh is very fine the storage of
information is a time consuming process
and it requires a lot of memory space.
Postprocessing Straightforward because state variables
can be plotted as element or nodal
results.
Time consuming.
User friendliness Once implemented the usermat, the user
has a customexecutable for ANSYS
therefore, he/she can be unknown of
details of the implementation.
The user must know how the post
processing routine is written.
Compile of the code Required. Not required.
Appl Compos Mater (2012) 19:657668 661
load step of a nonlinear incremental analysis. Each component of the stiffness matrix has
been defined equal to the coefficient Cij of the composite material considered as
orthotropic. These coefficients Cij are computed as in Ref.[27] starting from the values of
the properties E
1
,E
2
,E
3
,n
12
,n
13
,n
23
,G
12
,G
23
,G
13 .
It is worth noting that the values of these
properties are initially those defined by the user for the undamaged material. Then, they are
updated following the rules reported in Table 2 and in agreement with the values of the
state variables, which have been used to store information on the damage state, and that,
are themselves updated based on the outcomes of failure criteria. The transformation of the
stiffness in the global coordinate system, according to the laminate staking sequence
0
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 1.2 1.4
5
10
15
20
25
End shortening (mm)
F
o
r
c
e
(
K
N
)
#MS01
#MS02
Experimental results
DEVIATION FROM
LINEARITY
INITIAL STIFFNESS
Fig. 5 Load versus end shortening
graph. Numerical and
Experimental [28] results
#MSO1 #MSO2
#MSO2
#MSO1
Fig. 4 Mesh for the models #MSO1 (208 elements) and #MSO2 (800 elements)
662 Appl Compos Mater (2012) 19:657668
defined for each element (as SECTION [26]), is performed automatically by ANSYS
outside of the usermat.
Often progressive failure procedures have been implemented as postprocessing routines
especially when using ANSYS [2022]. This is principally because it is quite easy to
implement postprocessing routines in ANSYS by means of the Parametric Design
Language (APDL), which allows stopping and restarting analyses, storing data as matrices
and obtaining directly data from the model and from the result file. However, the storage of
failure data in the postprocessing phase becomes infeasible when a huge number of
elements are used in the FE model. Furthermore, many operations are performed outof
core as input/output computations thus preventing the analysis to be time effective. Indeed,
these difficulties can be easily overcome by means of a USERMAT: the Progressive failure
analysis is performed incore within the solution phase and the postprocessing phase
(visualization of the damage state) is straightforward because failure data are stored as
element or nodal results. The Table 3 summarizes the main advantages and disadvantages
associated to the different implementations.
4 Analysis of a Specimen with a Hole Subjected to Static Compressive Load
The structural response of a specimen with a hole subjected to compressive loads has been
analysed by using the progressive failure methodology presented in Section 3. Geometry
and material properties are described in Fig. 3. The specimen is fully constrained at his
edges and out of plane displacements are prevented. The load is applied along the specimen
major axis.
Two different meshes have been built (#MSO1 and #MSO2 in Fig. 4). In both cases,
solid elements (20 node hexahedral layered) have been used and a degradation factor equal
to1e08 has been chosen for the progressive failure analysis.
Numerical results obtained by using the developed procedure for the specimen
described in Fig. 3 have been compared with experimental results taken from literature
MN
MX
0
20
40
60
80
100
ANSYS 12.0.1
MN
MX
0
20
40
60
80
100
ANSYS 12.0.1 ELEMENT SOLUTION
STEP=21
SUB =6
TIME=21
MT (NOAVG)
LAYR=8
DMX =1.102
SMX =100
(a) (b) (c)
ELEMENT SOLUTION
STEP=23
SUB =4
TIME=22.575
MT (NOAVG)
LAYR=8
DMX =1.203
SMX =100
Fig. 6 a Percentage of damage at 21 KN (#MS02), b CScan before final failure [28], c Percentage of
damage at 22.6 KN (#MS02)
Table 4 Comparison between the numerical results
Model identifier First Failure Load Deviation from linearity Final Failure Load
#MS01 8.2KN 19KN 26.13 KN
#MS02 7.6 KN 19 KN 22.59 KN
Appl Compos Mater (2012) 19:657668 663
[28]. Really, the specimen proposed by Suemasu et al in Ref. [28] have the same
dimensions and material but has different thickness (2.2 mm instead of 1.1 mm) and
stacking sequence ([(45/0/45/90)
2
]
S
instead of [(45/0/45/90)]
S
) with respect to the one
simulated numerically. However, numerical analyses of the Suemasus specimen gave as
results a stiffness much higher that that measured experimentally. Chua Hui Eng [29]
proposed to use the specimen in Fig. 3 for the comparison with the Suemasus one and
effectively, even thought this choice seems to be rude approximation of the experiments,
the results are very encouraging. Indeed, it is possible to recognize in Fig. 5 a perfect
correspondence between the numerical results obtained by using ANSYS and experi
mental data in terms of stiffness of the structure (measured as slope of the load versus end
shortening graph). Furthermore, the load at which the force versus endshortening curve
deviates from linearity (19KN) is well simulated. Finally, by increasing the mesh density
a good prediction of the final collapse load can be obtained as shown in Fig. 5 and
Table 4.
In addition, the failure maps obtained numerically have been compared with a CScan
taken from Ref. 28 as shown in Fig. 6. The position and the extension of the damage zone
are in good agreement as well as the ply splitting shown in Fig. 7 which has been obtained
numerically as highly distorted elements. It is worth noting that the percentage of damage
has been computed considering an element as completely failed when in all its plies a
failure mode is detected.
The percentage of delaminated plies computed taking into account the criterion in Eq. 1
is shown in Fig. 8. Also in this case, the damage develops near the hole and propagates in
the direction orthogonal to the applied load.
MN MX
0
20
40
60
80
100
ANSYS 12.0.1 ELEMENT SOLUTION
STEP=23
SUB =4
TIME=22.575
MT (NOAVG)
LAYR=8
DMX =1.203
SMX =84.375
Fig. 8 Percentage of delaminated
plies at 22.6KN (#MS02)
0
20
40
60
80
100
ANSYS 12.0.1 ELEMENT SOLUTION
STEP=23
SUB =4
TIME=22.575
MT (NOAVG)
LAYR=8
DMX =1.203
SMX =100
PLY SPLITTING
HIGHLY DISTORTED
ELEMENTS
(a) (b) (c)
Fig. 7 a Microscope picture at 22.7KN [28] b Deformed shape with distorted elements at 22.6KN (#MS02),
c Percentage of damage at 22.6 KN (#MS02)
664 Appl Compos Mater (2012) 19:657668
5 Stiffened Panel with an Embedded Delamination
The structural response of a stiffened panel has been analysed taking into account both
intralaminar (fiber/matrix) and interlaminar (delamination) damage. Indeed, the usermat
defined in Section 3 has been used for intralaminar damage whereas a procedure based on
1250
1300
1350
1400
1450
1500
1550
1600
1650
1700
1750
4600 4100 3600 3100 2600
Applied Strain
D
e
b
o
n
d
e
d
A
r
e
a
(
m
m
^
2
)
EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS
NUMERICAL RESULTS
1
0.5
0
0.5
1
1.5
2
5000 4000 3000 2000 1000 0
Applied Strain ()
O
u
t
o
f
p
l
a
n
e
d
i
s
p
l
a
c
e
m
e
n
t
U
z
(
m
m
)
EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS
Numerical results (delamination only)
Numerical results
900
800
700
600
500
400
300
200
100
0
6000 5000 4000 3000 2000 1000 0
Applied Strain ()
L
o
a
d
F
(
K
N
)
EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS
Numerical results (delamination only)
Numerical results
(a) (b)
(c)
Fig. 10 Comparison between numerical and experimental results [31]
R0
b
c
b
f
s
b
l
W
L
x
c
Yc
SKIN: [+45/45/0/90]
3S
STRINGER
1

2

3
: [+45/45/0
3
/90/0
3
/45/+45]
h
w
t
f
t
w
t
c
(b)
(a)
1
2
3
Bl 11mm Tb 3.33mm
Bf 55mm Tf 1.16mm
Bc 48.2mm Tc 2.80mm
S 94mm Tw 2.47mm
R
0
20mm Hw 45mm
W 375mm X
C
113mm
L 446mm Y
C
205mm
Longitudinal tensile modulus 140 GPa Longitudinal tensile
strength
2100 MPa
Transverse tensile modulus 10.5 GPa Transverse tensile strength 70 MPa
Poisson ratio 12 and 13 0.3 Longitudinal compressive
strength
1650 MPa
Poisson ratio 23 0.51 Transverse compressive
strength
240 MPa
In plane shear modulus 1213 5.2 GPa In plane shear strength 105 MPa
In plane shear modulus 23 3.48GPa Critical ERR Mode I 260 J/m
2
Critical ERR Mode II 950 J/m
2
Critical ERR Mode III 1200 J/m
2
Fig. 9 Geometry and material properties of the stiffened panel [31]
Appl Compos Mater (2012) 19:657668 665
the combined use of the Virtual Crack Closure Technique and of a failure release approach
has been adopted for simulating the delamination growth [30].
The geometry of the panel and the material properties as well as the stacking sequence
for the components of the panel, are described in Fig. 9.
Displacement controlled nonlinear analyses have been performed by using a constant
load increment equal to 0.07 mm considering both intralaminar and interlaminar damage
(label Numerical results in Fig. 10) and interlaminar damage only (label Numerical
results (delamination only) in Fig. 10). The global (2700 ) and the local buckling load
(1100 ) are very close to the experimental results (global and local buckling load
respectively equal to 2850 and 1250 ). The delamination growth rate (defined as
the ratio debonded area/applied strain) obtained by using ANSYS is in a very close
agreement with the experimental results (Fig. 10a). No significant differences can be
appreciated in Fig. 10c between the results of the two numerical analyses whereas for an
MN MX
X
Y Z
0
20
40
60
80
100
ANSYS 12.0.1 ELEMENT SOLUTION
STEP=26
SUB =1
TIME=26
MT (NOAVG)
MIDDLE
DMX =4.18
SMX =66.667
A
A MN
MX
X
Y Z
3.439
2.606
1.772
.938888
.105535
.727818
1.561
2.395
3.228
4.061
ANSYS 12.0.1 NODAL SOLUTION
STEP=26
SUB =1
TIME=26
UZ (AVG)
RSYS=0
DMX =4.169
SMN =3.439
SMX =4.061
MN
MX
0
20
40
60
80
100
ANSYS 12.0.1 ELEMENT SOLUTION
STEP=26
SUB =1
TIME=26
MT (NOAVG)
MIDDLE
DMX =4.18
SMX =66.667
a b c
Fig. 12 a deformed shape and out of plane displacement contours at 4000 . b and c percentage of
damage for the most external ply of the delaminated area
MN
MX
0
20
40
60
80
100
ANSYS 12.0.1
MN
MX
0
20
40
60
80
100
ANSYS 12.0.1
MN
MX
0
20
40
60
80
100
ANSYS 12.0.1
X MN M
0
20
40
60
80
100
ANSYS 12.0.1
I
II
IV
III
DELAMINATION
THICK
SUBLAMINATE
THIN
SUBLAMINATE
DELAMINATION
THICK
SUBLAMINATE
THIN
SUBLAMINATE
DELAMINATION
THICK
SUBLAMINATE
THIN
SUBLAMINATE
DELAMINATION
THICK
SUBLAMINATE
THIN
SUBLAMINATE
I
III
II
IV
Fig. 11 Failure maps at 4000 for the most external plies (plies of the thinnest sublaminate). The position
of a ply along the thickness is sketched at the left hand side of each map
666 Appl Compos Mater (2012) 19:657668
applied compressive strain greater than 3000 the results of the two numerical analyses
are not overlapped as shown in Fig. 10b.
This difference can be explained by analysing the damage state within the structure. As
shown in Figs. 11 and 12 only the plies of the thinnest sublaminate of the delaminated area
are damaged. Since the stringers are undamaged, the global behaviour of the panel is not
affected by the onset and evolution of intralaminar (matrix/fiber) failure. On the contrary,
the out of plane displacement (graph b in Fig. 10) measured locally in the middle of the
delaminated area (Point A in Fig. 12) decreased due to the ply failure.
The failure mode detected in the most external ply (Fig. 13) is matrix failure, whereas
there are both fibre and matrix failure modes in the ply of the thinnest sublaminate nearest
to the delamination plane (Fig. 14).
6 Conclusions
A constitutive model for composite materials has been defined and implemented as
usermat in ANSYS. This model includes failure criteria and a ply discount technique
for taking into account the onset and progression of intralaminar damage. By using this
usermat, two composite structures (a specimen with a hole and a stiffened panel) have
been analysed and results have been compared against experimental results taken from
literature. A good agreement between the numerical results and the experimental data
both in terms of global structural behaviour and failure loads has been obtained. A
limited sensitivity analysis has been performed on the specimen with a hole showing
that the use of progressive failure approaches can be dependent on the mesh density
(and on the load increment too). Therefore dedicated algorithms should by used to
reduce this dependency when the objective is to use these procedures for predicting and
not only for simulating the structural behaviour.
FIBER MATRIX SHEAR
FAILURE
MATRIX FAILURE
FIBER FAILURE
MN
MX
0
20
40
60
80
100
ANSYS 12.0.1 ELEMENT SOLUTION
STEP=26
SUB =1
TIME=26
MT (NOAVG)
MIDDLE
LAYR=1
DMX =4.18
SMX =45.833
MN
MX
0
20
40
60
80
100
ANSYS 12.0.1 ELEMENT SOLUTION
STEP=26
SUB =1
TIME=26
MT (NOAVG)
MIDDLE
LAYR=1
DMX =4.18
SMX =66.667
MN MX
0
20
40
60
80
100
ANSYS 12.0.1 ELEMENT SOLUTION
STEP=26
SUB =1
TIME=26
MT (NOAVG)
MIDDLE
LAYR=1
DMX =4.18
SMX =50
IV
DELAMINATION
THICK
SUBLAMINATE
THIN
SUBLAMINATE
IV
Fig. 14 Failure maps at 4000 for the +90 ply (IV)
MN MX
0
20
40
60
80
100
ANSYS 12.0.1 ELEMENT SOLUTION
STEP=26
SUB =1
TIME=26
MT (NOAVG)
MIDDLE
LAYR=1
DMX =4.18
SMX =16.667
MN MX
0
20
40
60
80
100
ANSYS 12.0.1 ELEMENT SOLUTION
STEP=26
SUB =1
TIME=26
MT (NOAVG)
MIDDLE
LAYR=1
DMX =4.18
SMX =33.333
MN MX
0
20
40
60
80
100
ANSYS 12.0.1 ELEMENT SOLUTION
STEP=26
SUB =1
TIME=26
MT (NOAVG)
MIDDLE
LAYR=1
DMX =4.18
SMX =16.667
FIBER MATRIX SHEAR
FAILURE
MATRIX FAILURE
FIBER FAILURE
DELAMINATION
THICK
SUBLAMINATE
THIN
SUBLAMINATE
I
Fig. 13 Failure maps at 4000 for the +45 ply (I)
Appl Compos Mater (2012) 19:657668 667
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