Layerwise modeling of progressive damage in fiber-reinforced composite laminates Academic Article uri icon


  • This paper investigates the effects of discrete layer transverse shear strain and discrete layer transverse normal strain on the predicted progressive damage response and global failure of fiber-reinforced composite laminates. These effects are isolated using a hierarchical, displacement-based 2-D finite element model that includes the first-order shear deformation model (FSD), type-I layerwise models (LW1) and type-II layerwise models (LW2) as special cases. Both the LW1 layerwise model and the more familiar FSD model use a reduced constitutive matrix that is based on the assumption of zero transverse normal stress; however, the LW1 model includes discrete layer transverse shear effects via in-plane displacement components that are C 0 continuous with respect to the thickness coordinate. The LW2 layerwise model utilizes a full 3-D constitutive matrix and includes both discrete layer transverse shear effects and discrete layer transverse normal effects by expanding all three displacement components as C 0 continuous functions of the thickness coordinate. The hierarchical finite element model incorporates a 3-D continuum damage mechanics (CDM) model that predicts local orthotropic damage evolution and local stiffness reduction at the geometric scale represented by the homogenized composite material ply. In modeling laminates that exhibit either widespread or localized transverse shear deformation, the results obtained in this study clearly show that the inclusion of discrete layer kinematics significantly increases the rate of local damage accumulation and significantly reduces the predicted global failure load compared to solutions obtained from first-order shear deformable models. The source of this effect can be traced to the improved resolution of local interlaminar shear stress concentrations, which results in faster local damage evolution and earlier cascading of localized failures into widespread global failure.

published proceedings

  • International Journal of Mechanics and Materials in Design

author list (cited authors)

  • Robbins, D. H., Reddy, J. N., & Rostam-Abadi, F.

citation count

  • 15

complete list of authors

  • Robbins, DH||Reddy, JN||Rostam-Abadi, F

publication date

  • September 2005