Modelling damage in multidirectional laminates subjected to multi-axial loading: ply thickness effects and model assessment

Tobias Laux, Khong Wui Gan, Rodrigo P Tavares, Carolina Furtado, Albertino Arteiro, Pedro P Camanho, Ole T Thomsen, Janice M Dulieu-Barton

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

15 Citations (Scopus)
63 Downloads (Pure)


A meso-scale damage modelling framework for composite laminates is assessed against multi-axial experimental data obtained from specimens subjected to combined tension/compression and shear loading using a modified Arcan fixture (MAF). Two laminates made from unidirectional carbon fibre-reinforced epoxy plies of different thickness are considered to investigate the ply thickness effect on the damage behaviour of modified open-hole specimens. Intra-laminar damage is predicted using a continuum damage model combined with a fibre-aligned mesh, while cohesive zones are used to account for inter-laminar damage. The multi-axial open-hole specimen strength is predicted with a mean relative error of 15% across all the investigated lay-up and loading configurations, while the predicted damage maps show encouraging agreement with full-field measurements obtained using digital image correlation (DIC). However, the assessment reveals limitations of the assumption of small strains and rotations in the formulation of the model that lead to spurious model behaviour for shear-dominated damage modes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number113766
Number of pages15
JournalComposite Structures
Early online date2 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work is supported by EPSRC under the Doctoral Training Grant 1801230 and through a Stanley Gray Fellowship granted to the lead author by the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd


  • A. Composite laminates
  • B. Carbon fibre
  • C. Multiaxial loading
  • D. Finite element analysis (FEA)
  • E. Damage mechanics
  • F. Modified Arcan Fixture (MAF)


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