This paper presents first a review of the mechanisms of damage and its development in composite materials subjected to mechanical loads. The materials considered are thermosetting polymers reinforced with short or long fibres of glass or carbon. Laminates with woven fabric are also considered. A discussion regarding how the essential features of the damage mechanisms may be incorporated in a modelling approach is then given. Two basically different but complementary approaches, namely, micromechanics modelling and continuum damage modelling, are described. The present author's own approach using the internal variables concept is discussed at some length, and the predictions of elastic property degradation given by it are illustrated by experimental data.
This paper is an updated and expanded version of a previous paper written by the author (32).