Through-thickness thickness reductions in laminated composites are essential for weight and aerodynamic efficiency, but they can also be the site of damage initiation. Tensile failure mechanisms of modestly tapered laminates, loaded via gripping their thick and thin ends, and a severely tapered laminate, loaded by contact at its tapered section, were investigated via experiments and high-fidelity finite element modelling. The primary failure mode is by delamination, initiated from a terminated ply in the tapered region, which is quite sensitive to a small delamination defect at a ply drop location. Experimental measurements and FE predictions correlate very well in all cases for both location and load. In the severely tapered case, the contact stress influences the delamination and so a fibre failure criterion also needs to be considered, including both the fibre direction tensile stress and its interaction with through-thickness direct and shear stresses imposed by the contact.
|Number of pages||13|
|Journal||Composites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing|
|Early online date||5 Mar 2020|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jun 2020|
- Cohesive interface modelling
- Ply drops