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Failure of laminated composites at thickness discontinuities under complex loading and elevated temperatures


Lee, Sangwook (1998) Failure of laminated composites at thickness discontinuities under complex loading and elevated temperatures. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/9p36-ht49.


Failure initiation of laminated composites with discontinuous thickness is examined in terms of typical structural load description (tension, shear force and bending moment) rather than in terms of micromechanics considerations. Because transverse shear produced relatively small effects in failure initiation, results are presented as tension-bending interactions. Two loading frames were designed to apply moments and tension simultaneously. Four types of specimens of different stacking sequence were examined to determine failure initiation, and analyzed subsequently via a finite element analysis (ABAQUS). Depending on the stacking sequence across the interface of the step, two different failure modes are identified: For uni-directional fiber orientation across the interface in the tension direction, failure occurs through cracking and delamination which is governed by a fracture mechanics criterion. While the initiation strength for this failure mode is higher than for the cross-ply configurations, the residual strength after initiation is only marginally higher, providing virtually no margin of safety (10%). For cases involving cross-plies on either side of the interface, failure initiation occurs by matrix cracking, with a critical strain across the fibers providing a universal failure criterion. In these cases the residual load bearing capability was 30 to 45% higher than the failure initiation loads. The interaction between moment and tension at failure initiation is linear, an observation that does not hold for the delamination failure driven by crack propagation. It is found that all failures can be described in terms of a common fracture principle; the stress or strain criteria are interchangeable with the fracture energy computations, provided one allows for a range of values of associated fracture energies. Assuming that time dependent aspects of the failure process are not dominant, elevated temperatures did not change the general results of how bending and tension loads interact, provided one accounts for residual thermal stresses; however, the stress magnitude at which the failure initiation occurs decreases with increasing temperature.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Aeronautics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Knauss, Wolfgang Gustav
Thesis Committee:
  • Knauss, Wolfgang Gustav (chair)
  • Rosakis, Ares J.
  • Ravichandran, Guruswami
Defense Date:30 March 1998
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-01222008-140642
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:279
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:15 Feb 2008
Last Modified:16 Apr 2021 23:23

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