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Simulating Matrix Crack and Delamination Interaction in a Clamped Tapered Beam

N.V. DE CARVALHO, B.R. SESHADRI, J.G. RATCLIFFE, G.E. MABSON, L.R. DEOBALD

Abstract


Blind predictions were conducted to validate a discrete crack methodology based on the Floating Node Method to simulate matrix-crack/delamination interaction. The main novel aspects of the approach are: (1) the implementation of the floating node method via an “extended interface element” to represent delaminations, matrix-cracks and their interaction, (2) application of directional cohesive elements to infer overall delamination direction, and (3) use of delamination direction and stress state at the delamination front to determine migration onset. Overall, good agreement was obtained between simulations and experiments. However, the validation exercise revealed the strong dependence of the simulation of matrix-crack/delamination interaction on the strength data (in this case transverse interlaminar strength, YT) used within the cohesive zone approach applied in this work. This strength value, YT, is itself dependent on the test geometry from which the strength measurement is taken. Thus, choosing an appropriate strength value becomes an ad-hoc step. As a consequence, further work is needed to adequately characterize and assess the accuracy and adequacy of cohesive zone approaches to model small crack growth and crack onset. Additionally, often when simulating damage progression with cohesive zone elements, the strength is lowered while keeping the fracture toughness constant to enable the use of coarser meshes. Results from the present study suggest that this approach is not recommended for any problem involving crack initiation, small crack growth or multiple crack interaction.

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