Pre-notched composite lamina with unidirectional fibers were studied experimentally and using finite element analysis. Experiments were conducted on notched graphite/aluminum and glass/epoxy panels and the results were compared to a finite element method. Under remote tensile loading, cracks in the graphite/aluminum panels propagated perpendicular to the applied load without stable crack growth. In the glass/epoxy panels, crack propagation was initially stable and parallel to the fibers. A nonlinear damage zone method (DZM) was used to predict the crack growth directions, estimate damages, model stable and unstable crack growths, and predict the loads at failure. For both materials, the predicted loads at failure were within 20% of experimental loads.
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