A study on the influence of cohesive zone interface element strength parameters on mixed mode behaviour

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This paper presents a detailed study of the influence of maximum interfacial stress on interface element analyses for composites delamination. The development of the non-linear cohesive zone ahead of a crack tip is analysed with respect to length, stress distribution and mode ratio. The energy absorbed by interface elements is compared with the crack tip strain energy release rate from fracture mechanics analyses. These studies are performed initially on standard fracture toughness specimens, where mode-ratio is fixed by the applied displacement constraints. Results show close agreement with linear elastic fracture mechanics solutions. A simple ply drop specimen is then modelled, where the mode ratio is not constrained by the boundary conditions, and results are compared with the Virtual Crack Closure Technique. In this case maximum interfacial stress has a far greater influence on the numerical results, due to its significant influence on cohesive zone length, mode ratio and energy absorbed. (c) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)722-734
Number of pages13
JournalComposites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2012


  • A. Polymer-Matrix Composites
  • B. Delamination
  • B. Fracture
  • C. Finite element analysis

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