Micro-mechanical finite element analysis of Z-pins under mixed-mode loading

Bing Zhang*, G. Allegri, Mehdi Yasaee, Stephen R Hallett

*Corresponding author for this work

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

36 Citations (Scopus)
373 Downloads (Pure)


This paper presents a three-dimensional micro-mechanical finite element (FE) modelling strategy for predicting the mixed-mode response of single Z-pins inserted in a composite laminate. The modelling approach is based upon a versatile ply-level mesh, which takes into account the significant micro-mechanical features of Z-pinned laminates. The effect of post-cure cool down is also considered in the approach. The Z-pin/laminate interface is modelled by cohesive elements and frictional contact. The progressive failure of the Z-pin is simulated considering shear-driven internal splitting, accounted for using cohesive elements, and tensile fibre failure, modelled using the Weibull's criterion. The simulation strategy is calibrated and validated via experimental tests performed on single carbon/BMI Z-pins inserted in quasi-isotropic laminate. The effects of the bonding and friction at the Z-pin/laminate interface and the internal Z-pin splitting are discussed. The primary aim is to develop a robust numerical tool and guidelines for designing Z-pins with optimal bridging behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)424-435
Number of pages12
JournalComposites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing
Early online date17 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015

Structured keywords

  • Composites UTC


  • B. Delamination
  • B. Mechanical properties
  • C. Finite element analysis (FEA)
  • Z-pinning

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