Effect of Finite Thickness and Free Edges on Stresses in Plain Weave Composites Academic Article uri icon


  • Many years ago, free edge effects were studied extensively, perhaps excessively, for ordinary tape laminate composites. Various techniques were used to show that the free edge effects extended only a short distance from the free edge and that stacking sequence had a significant impact on interlaminar stresses, which could cause premature failure. In contrast, the analytical study of woven composites has focused on periodic analysis of unit cells. Since such analyses assume an infinite array of unit cells, free edge effects were not considered. This article investigates the significance of traction free surfaces on stresses in woven composites. Effects due to both free edge and free lateral surfaces (due to finite thickness) were investigated. The significance of the free edge effect was found to be sensitive to the waviness of the plain weave mat. Also, the stress distribution is quite different for finite and infinitely thick stacks of woven mats.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Owens, B. C., Whitcomb, J. D., & Varghese, J.

citation count

  • 17

publication date

  • March 2010