Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 41, Issue 20, pp 6610–6621 | Cite as

Strength prediction in composites with stress concentrations: classical Weibull and critical failure volume methods with micromechanical considerations

  • E. V. IarveEmail author
  • D. Mollenhauer
  • T. J. Whitney
  • R. Kim
Original Paper


Application of Weibull statistics to tensile strength prediction in laminated composites with open holes is revisited. Quasi-isotropic carbon fiber laminates with two stacking sequences [45/0/−45/90]s and [0/45/90/−45]s with three different hole sizes of 2.54, 6.35 and 12.7 mm were considered for analysis and experimental examination. The first laminate showed 20% lower strength for smaller and 10% for the larger hole sizes. A novel critical failure volume (CFV) method with minimum scaling length constraint as well as the traditional Weibull integral method were applied. The strength prediction was based on the state of stress in the 0° ply by taking into account the redistribution of stress due to matrix damage in the form of splitting, delamination and matrix cracking of off axis plies. The state of matrix damage precipitating failure was recorded by using X-radiography and examined by a sectioning technique. The measured extent of damage was then included in a 3D stress analysis procedure by using a mesh independent crack modeling method to account for fiber direction stress redistribution. The CFV method gave results within one standard deviation from experimentally observed strength values for both laminates and all three hole sizes. The Weibull integral method underpredicted the strength in all cases from as much as 20–30% for smaller hole sizes to 8% for the large holes. The accuracy of failure predictions using CFV is attributed to the introduction of a minimum scaling length. This length has a physical meaning of the width of a process zone of formation of fiber macro-crack as a result of single fiber break interaction. Direct measurement or rigorous evaluation of this parameter is, however, difficult. Consistent with referenced micromechanical studies, its value was assigned equal to six times the Rosen’s ineffective length.


Shape Function Hole Size Weibull Modulus Strength Prediction Fiber Failure 
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The work was supported by Air Force Research Laboratory through contract number FA8650-05-D-5052 to the University of Dayton Research Institute. The authors are grateful to Chase Nessler of the Southwest Council of Higher Education for performing the sectioning studies.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. V. Iarve
    • 1
    Email author
  • D. Mollenhauer
    • 2
  • T. J. Whitney
    • 1
  • R. Kim
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Dayton Research InstituteDaytonUSA
  2. 2.U.S. Air Force Research LaboratoryAFRL/MLBCWright-Patterson AFBUSA

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