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Automated Construction of Layer-by-Layer Finite Element Sub-Models of Damaged Composites Based on NDE Data



Composite laminate structures are usually modeled as a shell in finite element analysis tools for strength and stiffness determination. However, modeling for fatigue or degradation analysis often needs to be performed with layer-by-layer solid models, but building these models for nontrivial geometries can be extremely difficult, especially when trying to represent realistic defects. This paper discusses how the process of generating layer-by-layer solid finite element models, including insertion of defects, can be automated. We have developed a tool, Delamo, to automate the construction of such models. The tool provides an interface to a commercial solid modeling kernel (ACIS) and a commercial finite element analysis package (ABAQUS). It allows the solid model and finite element model to be built in parallel, layer by layer, starting with a mold, following the same assembly steps as the physical laminate. The bonding step determines the boundary conditions to be applied in the finite element model. Delaminations, determined from nondestructive evaluation (NDE) data can be inserted between layers as needed and are represented as unbonded regions. Potential delamination growth regions can be modeled with a cohesive layer or cohesive boundary condition. Fiber breakage in a layer will be represented by an internal boundary. Based on a mold and a sequence of layer construction and bonding instructions, the tool generates both a solid model and a Python script for ABAQUS that will generate a complete finite element model based on that solid model.

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