Applied Composite Materials (v.21, #3)

Editorial by P. W. R. Beaumont (397-397).

In this research, a novel data reduction method for calculation of the strain energy release rate (SERR) of asymmetric double cantilever beams (ADCB) is presented. For this purpose the elastic beam theory (EBT) is modified and the new method is called as the modified elastic beam theory (MEBT). Also, the ADCB specimens are modeled using ABAQUS/Standard software. Then, the initiation of delamination of ADCB specimens is modeled using the virtual crack closure technique (VCCT). Furthermore, magnitudes of the SERR for different samples are also calculated by an available data reduction method, called modified beam theory (MBT). Using the hand lay-up method, different laminated composite samples are manufactured by E-glass/epoxy unidirectional plies. In order to measure the SERR, all samples are tested using an experimental setup. The results determined by the new data reduction method (MEBT) show good agreements with the results of the VCCT and the MBT.
Keywords: Asymmetric double cantilever beam; Composite laminate; Data reduction method; Strain energy release rate

Ratcheting Assessment of GFRP Composites in Low-Cycle Fatigue Domain by G. R. Ahmadzadeh; A. Varvani-Farahani (417-428).
The present study intends to examine ratcheting response of Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymer (GFRP) composites over fatigue cycles by means of parametric variables. Stages of ratcheting deformation were related to stress cycles, lifespan, mechanical properties and cyclic stress levels by means of linear and non-linear functions. The coefficients B and C in the proposed ratcheting formulation calibrated ratcheting equation by means of material properties over ratcheting stages. Coefficients A and C calibrated the stages I and II of ratcheting strain curve over stress cycles. The ratcheting curve over initial and final stages was affected as composite modulus of elasticity (E c ) increased. An increase in E c -dependent coefficients A and B increased the magnitude of ratcheting strains over stress cycles. Ratcheting data for continuous and short fiber GFRP composites with various volume fractions were employed to evaluate the proposed ratcheting formulation. Interaction of ratcheting and fatigue phenomena was further assumed when the proposed parametric ratcheting equation was coupled with a fatigue damage model developed earlier by present authors. Overall damage is achieved from accumulation of ratcheting and fatigue over stress cycles.
Keywords: Ratcheting; Low-cycle fatigue; GFRP composite; Mean stress; Stress amplitude

Mechanical behavior of aluminum matrix composites reinforced with SiC particles are predicted using an axisymmetric micromechanical finite element model. The model aims to study initiation and propagation of interphase damage subjected to combination of thermal and uniaxial loading. Effects of manufacturing process thermal residual stresses and interphase de-bonding are considered. The model includes a square Representative Volume Element (RVE) from a cylindrical unit cell representing a quarter of SiC particle surrounded by Al-3.5wt.%Cu matrix. Suitable boundary conditions are defined to include effects of combined thermal and uniaxial tension loading on the RVE. An appropriate damage criterion with a linear relationship between radial and shear stresses for interphase damage is introduced to predict initiation and propagation of interphase de-bonding during loading. A damage user subroutine is developed and coupled to the finite element software to model interphase damage. Overall Stress-strain behavior of particulate metal-matrix composite by considering residual stresses is compared with experimental data to estimate interphase strength. Effects of thermal residual stresses in elastic, de-bonding and plastic zones of composite system are discussed in details. Furthermore, parametric study results show high influence of interphase strength on the overall mechanical behavior of composite material.
Keywords: Interphase damage; Residual stresses; Micromechanical model; De-bonding

In this study, the central cracked aluminum plates repaired with two sided composite patches are investigated numerically for their response to static tensile and transient dynamic loadings. Contour integral method is used to define and evaluate the stress intensity factors at the crack tips. The reinforcement for the composite patches is carbon fibers. The effect of adhesive thickness and patch thickness and configuration in tensile loading case and pre-tension, pre-compression and crack length effect on the evolution of the mode I stress intensity factor (SIF) (KI) of the repaired structure under transient dynamic loading case are examined. The results indicated that KI of the central cracked plate is reduced by 1/10 to 1/2 as a result of the bonded composite patch repair in tensile loading case. The crack length and the pre-loads are more effective in repaired structure in transient dynamic loading case in which, the 100 N pre-compression reduces the maximum KI for about 40 %, and the 100 N pre-tension reduces the maximum KI after loading period, by about 196 %.
Keywords: Cracked plate; Repair patch; Transient dynamic loading; Pre-tension; Pre-compression; Tensile loading

A Global–Local Numerical Model for the Prediction of Impact Induced Damage in Composite Laminates by A. Riccio; G. Di Felice; G. LaManna; E. Antonucci; F. Caputo; V. Lopresto; M. Zarrelli (457-466).
Delamination and other damage mechanisms, such as matrix cracks, fibre-matrix debonding and fiber failure can appear as a consequence of impact events with foreign objects under in service conditions and maintenance operations. These phenomena are seldom analyzed together without discussing how the interferences between the different damage mechanisms can influence their evolution under different loading conditions. The present work is focused on the development of a specific numerical procedure, able to take into account the failure modes interaction in composite laminated structures subject to a low velocity impact. As a matter of fact, a very fine mesh refinement is required to correctly evaluate the stress state where the impact induced damage onsets. Hence, in order to reduce the computational cost without compromising the accuracy of results, a global/local approach, characterized by a very refined mesh in the critical impact region interacting with a coarser mesh in the rest of the geometrical domain, has been implemented in the FE model. In the present work, Multi-Point-Constraints (MPC) has been used to link the refined local domain to the coarse global domain without using transition meshes. The implementation and the analyses have been performed in the ABAQUS® FE environment.
Keywords: Composites; Low velocity impact; Finite element analysis; Damage; Global–local analysis

Numerical Simulations of Inter-laminar Damage Evolution in a Composite Wing Box by A. Riccio; A. Raimondo; R. Borrelli; U. Mercurio; D. Tescione; F. Scaramuzzino (467-481).
In this paper, a numerical study has been carried out on skin delamination and skin-stringer debonding growth in a composite wing-box under compressive loading conditions. The adopted numerical models use the Virtual Crack Closure Technique to simulate the inter-laminar damage evolution and the numerical analyses have been performed by means of the FEM code ABAQUS and B2000++. The obtained numerical results have been assessed and compared each other in terms of delaminated area evolution, delamination growth initiation load and strain distributions. In order to investigate the effectiveness of the adopted numerical platforms in predicting the evolution of inter-laminar damages, comparisons with experimental data, in terms of load displacement curves and strains in the debonding area, have been also introduced.
Keywords: Skin delamination; Skin-stringer debonding; Damage growth; FEM

Innovative Anti Crash Absorber for a Crashworthy Landing Gear by Michele Guida; Francesco Marulo; Bruno Montesarchio; Massimiliano Bruno (483-494).
This paper defines an innovative concept to anti-crash absorber in composite material to be integrated on the landing gear as an energy-absorbing device in crash conditions to absorb the impact energy. A composite cylinder tube in carbon fiber material is installed coaxially to the shock absorber cylinder and, in an emergency landing gear condition, collapses in order to enhance the energy absorption performance of the landing system. This mechanism has been developed as an alternative solution to a high-pressure chamber installed on the Agusta A129 CBT helicopter, which can be considered dangerous when the helicopter operates in hard and/or crash landing. The characteristics of the anti-crash device are presented and the structural layout of a crashworthy landing gear adopting the developed additional energy absorbing stage is outlined. Experimental and numerical results relevant to the material characterization and the force peaks evaluation of the system development are reported. The anti-crash prototype was designed, analysed, optimized, made and finally the potential performances of a landing gear with the additional anti-crash absorber system are tested by drop test and then correlated with a similar test without the anti-crash system, showing that appreciable energy absorbing capabilities and efficiencies can be obtained in crash conditions.
Keywords: Crash landing; Composite structure; Shock absorber

A Practical Tool for the Preliminary Design of Bonded Composite Repairs by A. Riccio; G. Di Felice; F. Scaramuzzino; A. Sellitto (495-509).
Composite structures are increasingly finding more applications in the aeronautical field as well as the automotive one, thanks to their low weight – performance ratios, in terms of strength and stiffness. However, composite materials, as well known, are characterized by a critical behavior in terms of detectability of damage and performances of damaged components. A critical aspect related to damaged composite structures is, for sure, the repair aimed to restore the original stiffness and strength characteristics of the component depending on the damage typology and location. In this paper, a preliminary repair design tool is presented. The tool is aimed to help the designer by suggesting different repair typologies and proper repair size. This tool, by means of optimization analyses can provide the best repair solution with minimal adhesive shear stress and size of the repair patch. The tool has been tested against a literature case study on multistep composite-metal joints.
Keywords: Repair design tool; Composite materials; Optimization

Simulating the Response of Composite Plates to Fire by A. Riccio; M. Damiano; M. Zarrelli; M. Giordano; F. Scaramuzzino (511-524).
The present paper introduces a numerical study on the fire behavior of composites during exposure to a heating source at high incident power. A novel numerical model is proposed which is able to simulate the behavior of composite materials in fire environment providing the composites mass loss rate and heat release rate during heating source application. Two commercial software have been selected as platforms for the implementation of the proposed numerical model COMSOL and ANSYS. In COMSOL the model has been implemented by introducing proper field equations, while a macro, written in Ansys Parametric Design Language, has been used to allow the ANSYS FEM code to numerically simulate, by an incremental procedure, all the relevant physical phenomena related to fire. As an application, an experiment on thermal degradation over a laminated composite plate has been numerically simulated and the numerical model has been validated by comparing the COMSOL and Ansys numerical results to experimental literature data in terms of temperature profile over the panel thickness, Mass Loss Rate and Heat Release Rate. An excellent agreement has been found between the obtained numerical results and the experimental test data for both the adopted numerical platforms. However the ANSYS implementation, which showed to be the most effective in terms of accuracy of results and perspectives of applications to complex numerical models, led to the definition of a powerful tool able to assesses the fire performance of composite structures.
Keywords: FEM; Fire; Thermal degradation; Composites

Composite Structural Analysis of Flat-Back Shaped Blade for Multi-MW Class Wind Turbine by Soo-Hyun Kim; Hyung-Joon Bang; Hyung-Ki Shin; Moon-Seok Jang (525-539).
This paper provides an overview of failure mode estimation based on 3D structural finite element (FE) analysis of the flat-back shaped wind turbine blade. Buckling stability, fiber failure (FF), and inter-fiber failure (IFF) analyses were performed to account for delamination or matrix failure of composite materials and to predict the realistic behavior of the entire blade region. Puck’s fracture criteria were used for IFF evaluation. Blade design loads applicable to multi-megawatt (MW) wind turbine systems were calculated according to the Germanischer Lloyd (GL) guideline and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 61400-1 standard, under Class IIA wind conditions. After the post-processing of final load results, a number of principal load cases were selected and converted into applied forces at the each section along the blade’s radius of the FE model. Nonlinear static analyses were performed for laminate failure, FF, and IFF check. For buckling stability, linear eigenvalue analysis was performed. As a result, we were able to estimate the failure mode and locate the major weak point.
Keywords: Wind turbine; Composite blade; Flat-back shaped blade; Finite element analysis; Fiber failure and inter-fiber failure; Buckling stability

Holistic and Consistent Design Process for Hollow Structures Based on Braided Textiles and RTM by Florian Gnädinger; Michael Karcher; Frank Henning; Peter Middendorf (541-556).
The present paper elaborates a holistic and consistent design process for 2D braided composites in conjunction with Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM). These technologies allow a cost-effective production of composites due to their high degree of automation. Literature can be found that deals with specific tasks of the respective technologies but there is no work available that embraces the complete process chain. Therefore, an overall design process is developed within the present paper. It is based on a correlated conduction of sub-design processes for the braided preform, RTM-injection, mandrel plus mould and manufacturing. For each sub-process both, individual tasks and reasonable methods to accomplish them are presented. The information flow within the design process is specified and interdependences are illustrated. Composite designers will be equipped with an efficient set of tools because the respective methods regard the complexity of the part. The design process is applied for a demonstrator in a case study. The individual sub-design processes are accomplished exemplarily to judge about the feasibility of the presented work. For validation reasons, predicted braiding angles and fibre volume fractions are compared with measured ones and a filling and curing simulation based on PAM-RTM is checked against mould filling studies. Tool concepts for a RTM mould and mandrels that realise undercuts are tested. The individual process parameters for manufacturing are derived from previous design steps. Furthermore, the compatibility of the chosen fibre and matrix system is investigated based on pictures of a scanning electron microscope (SEM). The annual production volume of the demonstrator part is estimated based on these findings.
Keywords: Braiding; RTM; Design process; Composite manufacturing

This paper concerns the numerical characterization of the fatigue strength of a flat stiffened panel, designed as a fiber metal laminate (FML) and made of Aluminum alloy and Fiber Glass FRP. The panel is full scale and was tested (in a previous work) under fatigue biaxial loads, applied by means of a multi-axial fatigue machine: an initial through the thickness notch was created in the panel and the aforementioned biaxial fatigue load applied, causing a crack initiation and propagation in the Aluminum layers. Moreover, (still in a previous work), the fatigue test was simulated by the Dual Boundary Element Method (DBEM) in a bidimensional approach. Now, in order to validate the assumptions made in the aforementioned DBEM approach and concerning the delamination area size and the fiber integrity during crack propagation, three-dimensional BEM and FEM submodelling analyses are realized. Due to the lack of experimental data on the delamination area size (normally increasing as the crack propagates), such area is calculated by iterative three-dimensional BEM or FEM analyses, considering the inter-laminar stresses and a delamination criterion. Such three-dimensional analyses, but in particular the FEM proposed model, can also provide insights into the fiber rupture problem. These DBEM-BEM or DBEM-FEM approaches aims at providing a general purpose evaluation tool for a better understanding of the fatigue resistance of FML panels, providing a deeper insight into the role of fiber stiffness and of delamination extension on the stress intensity factors.
Keywords: DBEM; BEM; FEM; FML; Submodelling; Delamination; Crack propagation