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A closed-form approximate solution for the total strain energy release rate (G) of an elliptically shaped delamination has been developed from thin-film assumptions that treat the delamination as a clamped plate subject to enforced boundary displacements. Approximate equations are derived which couple the large deflection membrane stresses to the out-of-plane deflections. The model restricts the boundary to remain elliptical as the delamination grows. By applying the simple failure criterion that rapid growth of the delamination (which occurs when G reaches a critical value) precipitates the final failure of the laminate, the predicted failure stresses can be correlated with post-impact strength data available in the literature. The Mode I critical G is required for a good correlation, although the model calculates the total G averaged around the perimeter. For impact damage, data on delamination depth are rarely available. However, it was found that by assuming a delamination interface that results in the lowest failure strain, correlation with test data was obtained.
composite materials, impact, delamination, defects, buckling, fracture mechanics, laminates
Senior engineer Grumman Aircraft Systems Division, Grumman Corporation, Bethpage, NY