Progressive Damage and Failure Analysis of Composite Laminates
Joseph, Ashith Paulson Kunnel
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Composite materials are widely used in various industries for making structural parts due to higher strength to weight ratio, better fatigue life, corrosion resistance and material property tailorability. To fully exploit the capability of composites, it is required to know the load carrying capacity of the parts made of them. Unlike metals, composites are orthotropic in nature and fails in a complex manner under various loading conditions which makes it a hard problem to analyze. Lack of reliable and efficient failure analysis tools for composites have led industries to rely more on coupon and component level testing to estimate the design space. Due to the complex failure mechanisms, composite materials require a very large number of coupon level tests to fully characterize the behavior. This makes the entire testing process very time consuming and costly. The alternative is to use virtual testing tools which can predict the complex failure mechanisms accurately. This reduces the cost only to it’s associated computational expenses making significant savings. Some of the most desired features in a virtual testing tool are – (1) Accurate representation of failure mechanism: Failure progression predicted by the virtual tool must be same as those observed in experiments. A tool has to be assessed based on the mechanisms it can capture. (2) Computational efficiency: The greatest advantages of a virtual tools are the savings in time and money and hence computational efficiency is one of the most needed features. (3) Applicability to a wide range of problems: Structural parts are subjected to a variety of loading conditions including static, dynamic and fatigue conditions. A good virtual testing tool should be able to make good predictions for all these different loading conditions. The aim of this PhD thesis is to develop a computational tool which can model the progressive failure of composite laminates under different quasi-static loading conditions. The analysis tool is validated by comparing the simulations against experiments for a selected number of quasi-static loading cases.