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Composites Science and Technology 62 (2002) 1479

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Guest editorial
World wide failure exercise on failure prediction in composites

Composite materials have seen an increasing applica- The exercise was originally planned to take place in
tion in numerous industries over the past few decades. two parts, designated as Part A and Part B. Throughout
Within the aerospace industry, the new generations of the exercise, the Guest Editors have choreographed a
aircraft will be heavily reliant on composite materials, complex sequence of events to ensure that a compre-
not just as a replacement for metallic materials but also hensive description of each theory has been provided
as a means of delivering more advanced design features. and that a thorough and objective assessment of the
Other fields of application such as ground transporta- performance of each theory has been carried out. This
tion, general mechanical engineering, civil engineering, has proved to be a mammoth task!
and chemical engineering are focussing increasingly Composites Science and Technology was chosen as the
towards composites, because of their superior proper- forum for publishing the fruits of the exercise, with Part
ties. This increase in application means that reliability A completed in a special issue (Vol. 58, No. 7, 1998),
and durability are more and more important, and the and Part B being the subject of this publication. Taken
designers have to take this into account. Thanks to the together, Parts A and B provide a unique insight into
pioneering work of Timoschenko, Hashin, Tsai and the current status of theories for predicting the failure
Puck (to mention only a few), tools were developed to response of fibre reinforced polymer laminates.
design safe composite structures. However, it turned out The methodology adopted for the exercise, to ensure
that these early design tools could be further improved. that objectivity and impartiality has been maintained
One of the major considerations in design is the possi- throughout, has led to a longer than anticipated time-
bility of failure. In metallic materials, we can expect frame for completing Part B. I would like to thank the
a single crack to initiate final failure. In composite Guest Editors for encouraging the discussion, putting
materials, however, we have numerous types of failure, all the papers together and for driving the exercise to a
such as fibre rupture, interfibre matrix cracking, successful conclusion. I would also like to thank all of
delamination, etc. In addition, the variation in fibre the authors for their high level contributions, the accu-
orientation has to be taken into account. A further racy of work and, more importantly, for their patience
improvement of the existing failure criteria is therefore in supporting this challenge over many years. I am
evidently needed. confident that the publication will prove to have been
In 1992, the Guest Editors of this special issue (Prof. well worth the wait!
M.J. Hinton, Mr. P.D. Soden and Dr. A.S. Kaddour) As a final note, several newer theories have emerged
embarked on a mission to determine the maturity of during the life of the exercise. In recognition of this
currently available laminated composite failure situation, the Guest Editors have dealt with new con-
theories. They have organised and co-ordinated a tributions using the same process as applied in Parts A
‘World Wide Failure Exercise’ (often referred to, in the and B. One further publication is planned to cover the
US, as the ‘Failure Olympics’) by engaging the active new theories and to provide the final closure to this 10 year
and positive participation of the leading theoreticians study.
in the field, worldwide, and by promoting the exercise
at a variety of major conferences. One such example Karl Schulte (European Editor)
of the latter was an extremely lively open discussion Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg
held at the 11th International Conference on Composite Polymer Composites Section,
Materials, at the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, in Denickestrasse. 15 21073 Hamburg, Germany
1997. E-mail address: schulte@tuhh.de

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