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16th International Conference on Composite Structures

A. J. M. Ferreira (Editor)
 FEUP, Porto, 2011


Burak Gözlüklü*† and Demirkan Çöker†
TAI Turkish Aerospace Industries
Ankara, Turkey
e-mail: burak.gozluklu@gmail.com

Department of Aerospace Engineering
06531 Ankara, Turkey
e-mail: coker@ae.metu.edu.tr, web page: http://ae.metu.edu.tr

Key words: Composite structures, Modeling, Computational mechanics.

The scope of applications of composites has widened as geometrically more complex
composite products have started to be used in advanced commercial aircrafts. One of the
widely used geometrically complex parts is L-shaped composites. Specific to L-geometry,
interlaminar opening stresses are more important than the widely investigated interlaminar
shear stress due to the relatively sharp curvature at the bend. The opening stresses may
initiate delamination between laminas on the interface in the bent section. This problem has
been initially studied by Martin [1] and more recently by Wimmer et al. [2] who have looked
at the delamination initiation and propagation experimentally and numerically. Numerically,
these studies have considered delamination from a static perspective and treated the initiation
and propagation as separate phases. However, the nature of the geometry and loading are
leading to unstable rapid delamination just after initiation. For an accurate modeling of the
failure process, modeling the dynamic effects due to delamination initiation and propagation
at speeds comparable to the speed of sound of composites is useful ([3, 4]).

In this study, the objective is to simulate delamination initiation and propagation in L-

shaped beams using dynamic (explicit) finite element analysis in conjunction with Cohesive
Zone Method (CZM). The part is a unidirectional laminated [0°]24 T300/977-2 carbon fiber
reinforced composite double cantilever beam specimen bent into an L-shaped geometry
(Figure 1a). It is subjected to displacement loading in the vertical direction at the arm by
relatively low speeds as 50 mm/s downwards. The dynamic phenomenon is highlighted in the
numerical simulation of delamination propagation initiated from an intact interface even
though the loading can be considered as quasi-static. Moreover, static (implicit) analysis is
performed to compare and contrast the elastodynamic effects during the rapid delamination
Burak Gözlüklü and Demirkan Çöker

(A) (B)
Figure 1: (a) L-beam dimensions (b) The mesh in bent and the location of the interface elements (0.0125mm).

In order to embrace both the initiation and the propagation phases elegantly, without losing
the history dependence of the delamination, CZM is used in ABAQUS/Explicit by removing
the generally used artificial initial penalty stiffness in the user-subroutine VUMAT. In this
method, both strength of materials and fracture mechanics points of view are covered.
Initiation occurs by the quadratic formulation of mixed mode maximum point stress value.
After a crack is present, propagation occurs when the calculated mixed mode energy release
rate G reaches the fracture toughness of the material, represented by the area under the
traction-displacement curve, release of nodes occur [3]. Crack propagation is the outcome of
meeting the both criteria. In the finite element model, the cohesive elements are inserted in the
middle of the specimen for the sake of simplicity (Fig. 1b). Initiation is rapidly formed and
followed by the propagation phase from the center of the radius. On the other hand, the static
(implicit) solution using ABAQUS/Standard shows that the initiation stage is instantaneous
(Figure 2a). Moreover, the kinetic energy ∆K is in the same magnitude of order with the
energy released ∆G and the strain energy ∆S at the early stages of the delamination (Figure

In Fig. 3a, the compressive waves emanating from the rapid initiation process are shown
which affect the crack speed at the early stages of the propagation. The reflecting compressive
waves are relatively large and have a tendency to perturb the crack speed (Fig. 3b). The
dynamic effects on crack speed and fracture toughness are further discussed in the paper.

Burak Gözlüklü and Demirkan Çöker

(A) (B)
Figure 2: (a) Crack speed versus pseudo time (b) Energy values after the delamination initiation

(A) (B)
Figure 3: The opening stress contour around the crack tip (a) before initiation (b) after initiation.

[1] Martin RH., Delamination Failure in a Unidirectional Curved Composite Laminate.
Composite Materials Testing and Design, ASTM STP 1120, Glenn C Grimes, Ed, ASTM,
Philadelphia, 365-383, 1992
[2] Wimmer G, Kitzmüller W, Pinter G, Wettemann T, Pettermann HE, Computational and
Experimental Investigation of Delamination in L-shaped laminated composite components.
Engineering Fracture Mechanics, 76, 2810–2820, 2009.
[3] Coker, D., Rosakis, A. J., and Needleman, A., Dynamic crack growth along a polymer
composite-Homalite interface. Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids, 51, 425-460,
[4] Li S, Thouless M, Waas AM, Schroeder JA, Zavattieri PD, Use of a cohesive-zone model
to analyze the fracture of a fiber-reinforced polymer–matrix composite. Composites Science
and Technology, 65, 537–549, 2005.