Effects of Voids on Delamination Growth in Composite Laminates under Compression



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Polymer matrix composites are widely used as structural components in the aerospace industry and wind turbine industry etc. to take advantage of their unique mechanical properties and weight saving ability. Although there have been considerable developments in analyzing delamination growth and effects of voids on certain mechanical properties of composites, none of the present literatures investigates the effects of voids on delamination growth under compression.

In this research, a parametric study is performed to investigate the effects of voids on delamination growth in composite laminates under compression. In composite structures, delamination would be created by eccentricities in structural load path, structural discontinuities, and during manufacturing and maintenance processes. Also, the service damage such as the impact of foreign objects may also result in delamination. In the Finite Element model developed, a through-width surface delamination is assumed, and void is placed in critical locations ahead of crack tip. Strain Energy Release Rate (SERR) is calculated by the Virtual Crack Closure Technique (VCCT) in order to study the delamination growth. It is found that the delamination front experiences a mixed-mode delamination behavior when local out-of-plane buckling occurs. During the loading, Mode II SERR increases monotonically while Mode I SERR increases first and then decreases as the delamination front starts to close. Meanwhile, Mode II SERR is found to be much larger than the Mode I component. The presence of void does not significantly alter the transverse displacement of the delaminated part. However, the presence of void increases the Mode II SERR, as well as the total SERR, and this increase depends on the size and location of void. For Mode I SERR, the effect of void is not that prominent.