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Quantification of Error Associated with Using Misaligned Meshes in Continuum Damage Mechanics Material Models for Matrix Crack Growth Predictions in Composites 2385



The ability of a material model to capture in-plane matrix mode I and mode II crack growth is an essential component for modeling ply level damage evolution in composite structures. Previous studies using a continuum damage mechanics (CDM) approach have shown success in satisfying benchmark solutions for mode I and II crack growth. However, success was shown using a fiber-aligned meshing strategy, which encourages matrix cracks to propagate in a single band of elements, along the fiber direction. Generating a fiber-aligned mesh becomes a highly involved process for laminates including off-axis (non 0° or 90°) plies. The objective of this study is to quantify the effect of non-fiber aligned mesh discretization on predictions of inplane matrix crack propagation. The approach taken incrementally varies the mesh orientation angle relative to the fiber orientation; more specifically, misaligned meshes are used to quantify the effect of element angle orientation relative to the initial crack orientation on the energy released during matrix crack propagation simulations using a CDM method. CDM solutions obtained with the misaligned meshes are evaluated against known benchmarks for mode I and II matrix crack growth. The CDM solutions reveal a near-polynomial trend of increased predicted failure stress with increased mesh misalignment angle; hence implying a potential relationship between element orientation angle and apparent fracture toughness.


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