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3D Progressive Failure Modeling of Drop-Weight Impact on Composite Laminates



Composite laminates are susceptible to out-of-plane impact loads due to the lack of reinforcement in the through-thickness direction. Unlike the localized damage induced by a high velocity impact where the incident energy is dissipated near a contact area, low velocity impact damage involves multiple failure mechanisms such as matrix cracking, fiber breakage, and widespread interface delaminations. Depending on the extent of damage, significant reduction in the load-bearing capability of the structure has been observed. The prediction of composite impact damage resistance by a reliable progressive damage analysis tool is essential to reduce intensive and expensive certification tests at structural level. In this work, an enhanced explicit 3D damage model is implemented via VUMAT in Abaqus to perform a dropweight impact simulation of a [454/04/-454/904]s Hexply AS4/8552 composite laminate. The impact-induced damage and its extent are captured by a 3D Continuum Damage Model (CDM) coupled with an energy driven failure mechanism. The developed module provides a unified solution process for the impact response prediction followed by the residual strength prediction under compression within an explicit solver. Two examples are selected to demonstrate the capability of the progressive failure analysis under dynamic and static loading: 1) a drop-weight test; and 2) an open-hole tension test. Numerical predictions from the developed VUMAT are compared with the test data and predictions using the open source CompDam code developed by NASA.


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