High-strength and high-stiffness carbon fiber-reinforced polymer composite laminates (CFRP) are being increasingly used for primary load bearing structures in many industries. The most common material system used is based on thermoset resins (matrix material), which come in the form of convenient prepreg tapes allowing high flexibility and productivity using advanced automated manufacturing technologies. Engineers must provide robust and predictive models for the deformation response and failure of these materials and structures. The mechanisms responsible for progressive damage accumulation and failure are (intralaminar) matrix cracks, which can lead to delamination initiation and spreading resulting in ultimate failure. Interlaminar fracture in CFRP, often called delamination, is defined as an out-of-plane discontinuity between two adjacent plies of a laminate. Delamination behavior has been studied by many researchers and now can be characterized in a standardized manner. Fracture properties of Mode I, Mode II, and mixed-mode (between Mode I and Mode II) delamination can be obtained from ASTM standard tests in conjunction with finite element analysis (FEA). In a CFRP structural component, the intralaminar and interlaminar modes of failure interact, therefore developing a computational model to accurately replicate the failure mechanisms and their interaction has been challenging. In this presentation, a series of experimental results that delineate the different mechanisms of failure will be used as a foundation, for a novel and computationally efficient semidiscrete progressive damage and failure modeling framework that can be used for assessing the structural integrity and damage tolerance of CFRP structures.
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