Effective use of cohesive zone-based models for the prediction of progressive damage at the fiber/matrix scale Academic Article uri icon


  • The onset and growth of damage in fiber/matrix composites under transverse loads were modelled using cohesive elements and representative volume elements of randomly arranged fibers. Switching between iterative schemes, using an appropriate tolerance and load increment size, and using an extrapolated solution as an initial guess for load increments led to over an order of magnitude reduction in the solution time. The effect of several model parameters on the failure properties for the next larger scale was studied. The crack path did exhibit a dependence on the mesh, but the RVE strength and amount of dissipated energy in the representative volume element did not vary more than 4% for any of the mesh refinements considered. Periodic boundary conditions minimally interfered with the localization of damage when the localized band of damage did not extend across the entire RVE or when the damage naturally localized parallel to a boundary or diagonal of the representative volume element. A local method for quantifying the energy dissipated within the representative volume element was proposed, which provides an improved accuracy and flexibility. An approach to precisely define the dominant crack was given, which allowed the energy dissipate diffusely and along the dominant crack to be separated. It was shown that the predicted critical strain energy release rate for the representative volume element was sensitive to the representative volume element unless the diffusely dissipated energy was accounted for separately. The proposed technique for calculating failure properties within a multiscale framework has the potential to be applied to other damage models.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Ballard, M. K., & Whitcomb, J. D.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • Ballard, Michael K||Whitcomb, John D

publication date

  • March 2017