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Techniques were developed and described for performing three-dimensional finite element analysis of plain weave composites. This paper emphasizes aspects of the analysis that are different from analysis of traditional laminated composites, such as the mesh generation and representative unit cells. The analysis was used to study several different variations of plain weaves that illustrate the effects of tow waviness on composite moduli, Poisson's ratios, and internal strain distributions. In-plane moduli decreased almost linearly with increasing tow waviness. The tow waviness was shown to cause large normal and shear strain concentrations in composites subjected to uniaxial load. These strain concentrations may lead to earlier damage initiation than occurs in traditional cross-ply laminates.
composite materials, weaves, stress analysis, three-dimensional composite materials, fracture, fatigue (materials)
Associate professor, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX