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An experimental and numerical investigation into damage mechanisms in tapered laminates under tensile loading

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

Original languageEnglish
Article number105862
Number of pages13
JournalComposites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing
Early online date5 Mar 2020
DateAccepted/In press - 3 Mar 2020
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 5 Mar 2020
DatePublished - 1 Jun 2020


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.

    Research areas

  • Laminates, Delamination, Cohesive interface modelling, Ply drops



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    Embargo ends: 5/03/21

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