Finite element modelling of composite structures under crushing load

Louis Ngai Sum Chiu, Brian Falzon, Romain Boman, Bernard Chen, Wenyi Yan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


This paper details the theory and implementation of a composite damage model, addressing damage within a ply (intralaminar) and delamination (interlaminar), for the simulation of crushing of laminated composite structures. It includes a more accurate determination of the characteristic length to achieve mesh objectivity in capturing intralaminar damage consisting of matrix cracking and fibre failure, a load-history dependent material response, an isotropic hardening nonlinear matrix response, as well as a more physically-based interactive matrix-dominated damage mechanism. The developed damage model requires a set of material parameters obtained from a combination of standard and non-standard material characterisation tests. The fidelity of the model mitigates the need to manipulate, or calibrate , the input data to achieve good agreement with experimental results. The intralaminar damage model was implemented as a VUMAT subroutine, and used in conjunction with an existing interlaminar damage model, in Abaqus/Explicit. This approach was validated through the simulation of the crushing of a cross-ply composite tube with a tulip-shaped trigger, loaded in uniaxial compression. Despite the complexity of the chosen geometry, excellent correlation was achieved with experimental results.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215 - 228
Number of pages14
JournalComposite Structures
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2015


  • Damage mechanics
  • Finite element analysis
  • Non-linear behaviour
  • Crushing response
  • Energy absorption
  • Structure failure

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