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Development of a C-ELS Specimen-Based Numerical Benchmark for Mode II Delamination and Assessment of Two VCCT-Based Propagation Strategies



A finite element (FE) benchmark example inspired by the calibrated end-loaded split (C-ELS) specimen is developed and used to assess the performance of delamination propagation capabilities based on linear elastic fracture mechanics (LEFM). The C-ELS specimen has the advantage of a longer region of stable delamination propagation compared to the existing mode II benchmark case. The new benchmark example may therefore provide a better assessment tool by enabling more stable crack growth in regions further away from the boundary conditions or load application. First, a benchmark result is created manually using two-dimensional finite element models of the C-ELS specimen with different delamination lengths. Second, the performance of the virtual crack closure technique (VCCT) delamination propagation capabilities in the Abaqus/Standard®1 FE code and the recently developed Progressive Release eXplicit-VCCT (PRX-VCCT) method are assessed by comparing the results to the benchmark case. Two examples with different starter delamination lengths are studied. A shorter starter length is chosen to create a scenario with unstable delamination propagation. A longer delamination encourages stable delamination propagation. Detailed results from three-dimensional analyses with aligned and misaligned meshes and two levels of mesh refinement are provided. In general, good agreement can be achieved between the results obtained from the quasi-static propagation analysis and the benchmark analysis. Numerical artifacts including anomalous unreleased nodes in the crack wake and zig-zag crack fronts occur for propagation analyses using Abaqus/Standard VCCT. In comparison, continuous, smooth, delamination fronts are observed for PRX-VCCT. The use of the benchmark case to assess different VCCT-based propagation strategies illustrates the value of establishing benchmark cases.


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