Modeling Continuous-fiber Reinforced Polymer Composites for Exploration of Damage Tolerant Concepts

Open Access
Matthews, Peter Joseph
Graduate Program:
Engineering Science and Mechanics
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
March 06, 2015
Committee Members:
  • Kevin L Koudela, Dissertation Advisor
  • Charles E Bakis, Committee Chair
  • Sulin Zhang, Committee Member
  • Panagiotis Michaleris, Committee Member
  • composites
  • delamination
  • damage
This work aims to improve the predictive capability for fiber-reinforced polymer matrix composite laminates using the finite element method. A new tool for modeling composite damage was developed which considers important modes of failure. Well-known micromechanical models were implemented to predict material values for material systems of interest to aerospace applications. These generated material values served as input to intralaminar and interlaminar damage models. A three-dimensional in-plane damage material model was implemented and behavior verified. Deficiencies in current state-of-the-art interlaminar capabilities were explored using the virtual crack closure technique and the cohesive zone model. A user-defined cohesive element was implemented to discover the importance of traction-separation material constitutive behavior. A novel method for correlation of traction-separation parameters was created. This new damage modeling tool was used for evaluation of novel material systems to improve damage tolerance. Classical laminate plate theory was used in a full-factorial study of layerwise-hybrid laminates. Filament-wound laminated composite cylindrical shells were subjected to quasi-static loading to validate the finite element computational composite damage model. The new tool for modeling provides sufficient accuracy and generality for use on a wide-range of problems.