Modelling delaminations in postbuckling stiffened composite shear panels
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A method has been developed to predict the effect of delaminations in a postbuckling stiffened structure manufactured from laminated composite materials. The emphasis of the technique, driven by aircraft certification requirements, was towards establishing whether delamination growth would initiate under given loading conditions. A geometric nonlinear finite element analysis was used to calculate the strain energy release rate around the circumference of a circular delamination using the virtual crack closure technique. In order to deal with the complex structural response in a computationally efficient manner, the structure was modelled using plate elements with two layers of plate elements used in the delaminated region. The effect of delamination size on the strength of postbuckling panels was shown to be a complex phenomenon in which trends were difficult to predict. Large delaminations could significantly affect the global and sub-laminate buckling modes and therefore be less critical than smaller delaminations. It was concluded that the method could accurately predict the load and location at which delamination growth would initiate, given suitable critical strain energy release rate data.
KeywordsCrack Closure Strain Energy Release Plate Element Strain Energy Release Rate Nonlinear Finite Element
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