Finite element modelling of z-pinned composite T-joints

F Bianchi, T Koh, X Zhang, Ivana K Partridge, A Mouritz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

74 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents a finite element model (FEM) to analyse the structural deformation, strength properties and delamination fracture behaviour of composite T-joints reinforced with z-pins. The FE modelling involves multi-level analysis of a pinned joint using unit cell and macro-scale structural models. Unit cell model is used to calculate the crack bridging traction loads generated by the elastic and interfacial friction (pull-out) stresses of a single pin within a representative unit cell of the joint. Macro-scale analysis involves modelling delamination crack growth in the pinned joint using a cohesive zone model, which is based on the traction load analysis of a single pin. The FE model was validated using experimental results for a pinned carbon fibre/epoxy T-joint subjected to tensile (stiffener pull-off) loading. The model accurately calculated the crack initiation load, ultimate load, and fracture mode of the pinned joint.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48–56
JournalComposites Science and Technology
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2012

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