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A random-damage finite element for modeling the failure process in advanced composite materials has been developed. The random response properties of the element are determined from the results of micromechanical simulations of the degradation of a small cell of the material. The random-damage finite element replaces a finite element model consisting of thousands of degrees of freedom with a single, eight-degree-of-freedom element. This allows a typical composite specimen to be modeled and analyzed on a workstation. A special-purpose finite element code was developed to efficiently perform the nonlinear analysis. The element is used to simulate the failure of small laminates and strands of Kevlar/epoxy composite. These results are compared with experiments.
advanced composites, damage, finite element, Kevlar, stochastic, failure process, micromechanical, simulation
Assistant professor, Washington University, St. Louis, MO