The effect of voids on matrix cracking in composite laminates as revealed by combined computations at the micro- and meso-scales

Mahoor Mehdikhani*, Nikolay A Petrov, Ilya Straumit, Antonio R Melro, Stepan V. Lomov, Larissa Gorbatikh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

5 Citations (Scopus)
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Voids are an important type of manufacturing defects in fiber-reinforced composites. Matrix cracking is sensitive to the presence of voids. Although this cracking occurs at the ply scale, its dynamics is strongly affected by ply's microstructure, in particular, fiber distribution, fiber content, and the presence of voids. In the current study, a computational approach to simulate the influence of intra-laminar voids on cracking in composite laminates is developed. The approach combines finite element models of two scales: a micro-scale model, where the fibers and voids are modeled explicitly, and a meso-scale model, where the cracking phenomenon is captured on the ply scale. The micro-scale model, incorporating plasticity and damage in the matrix, provides input for the meso-scale model, which simulates the progressive cracking by means of the extended finite element method. The methodology is applied to investigate the effect of voids on the density of transverse cracks in cross-ply laminates in function of the quasi-static tensile load. Different sizes and contents of voids, which are chosen based on experimental micro-computed tomography data, are simulated. The numerical experiments show that the presence of voids leads to earlier start of the cracking, with the crack density evolution less sensitive to voids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-192
Number of pages13
JournalComposites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing
Early online date10 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019



  • B. Porosity
  • B. Transverse cracking
  • C. Finite element analysis (FEA)
  • Multiscale modeling

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