The effect of fiber strength stochastics and local fiber volume fraction on multiscale progressive failure of composites Conference Paper uri icon


  • Continuous fiber unidirectional polymer matrix composites (PMCs) can exhibit significant local variations in fiber volume fraction as a result of processing conditions that can lead to further local differences in material properties and failure behavior. In this work, the coupled effects of both local variations in fiber volume fraction and the empirically-based statistical distribution of fiber strengths on the predicted longitudinal modulus and local tensile strength of a unidirectional AS4 carbon fiber/Hercules 3502 epoxy composite were investigated using the special purpose NASA Micromechanics Analysis Code with Generalized Method of Cells (MAC/GMC); local effective composite properties were obtained by homogenizing the material behavior over repeating units cells (RUCs). The predicted effective longitudinal modulus was relatively insensitive to small (∼8%) variations in local fiber volume fraction. The composite tensile strength, however, was highly dependent on the local distribution in fiber strengths. The RUC-averaged constitutive response can be used to characterize lower length scale material behavior within a multiscale analysis framework that couples the NASA code FEAMAC and the ABAQUS finite element solver. Such an approach can be effectively used to analyze the progressive failure of PMC structures whose failure initiates at the RUC level. Consideration of the effect of local variations in constituent properties and morphologies on progressive failure of PMCs is a central aspect of the application of Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) principles for composite materials.

published proceedings

  • 28th Annual Technical Conference of the American Society for Composites 2013, ASC 2013

author list (cited authors)

  • Ricks, T. M., Lacy, T. E., Bednarcyk, B. A., & Arnold, S. M.

complete list of authors

  • Ricks, TM||Lacy, TE||Bednarcyk, BA||Arnold, SM

publication date

  • December 2013