A “simplified shear solution” method approximates the through-thickness shear stress distribution within a composite laminate based on an extension of laminated beam theory. The method does not consider the solution of a particular boundary value problem; rather, it requires only knowledge of the global shear loading, geometry, and material properties of the laminate or panel. It is thus analogous to lamination theory in that ply-level stresses can be efficiently determined from global load resultants at a given location in a structure and used to evaluate the margin of safety on a ply-by-ply basis. The simplified shear solution stress distribution is zero at free surfaces, continuous at ply boundaries, and integrates to the applied shear load. The method has been incorporated within the HyperSizer® commercial structural sizing software to improve its predictive capability for designing composite structures.

The HyperSizer structural sizing software is used extensively by NASA to design composite structures. In the case of through-thickness shear loading on panels, HyperSizer previously included a basic, industry-standard, method for approximating the resulting shear stress distribution in sandwich panels. However, no such method was employed for solid laminate panels.

The purpose of the innovation is to provide an approximation of the through-thickness shear stresses in a solid laminate given the through-thickness shear loads (Qx and Qy) on the panel. The method was needed for implementation within the HyperSizer structural sizing software so that the approximated ply-level shear stresses could be utilized in a failure theory to assess the adequacy of a panel design.

The simplified shear solution method was developed based on extending and generalizing bi-material beam theory to platelike structures. It is assumed that the through-thickness shear stresses arise due to local bending of the laminate induced by the through-thickness shear load, and by imposing equilibrium both vertically and horizontally, the through-thickness shear stress distribution can be calculated. The resulting shear stresses integrate to the applied shear load, are continuous at the ply interfaces, and are zero at the laminate-free surfaces. If both Qx and Qy shear loads are present, it is assumed that they act independently and that their effects can be superposed. The calculated shear stresses can be rotated within each ply to the principal material coordinates for use in a ply-level failure criterion.

The novelty of the simplified shear solution method is its simplicity and the fact that it does not require solution of a particular boundary value problem. The advantages of the innovation are that an approximation of the though-thickness shear stress distribution can be quickly determined for any solid laminate or solid laminate region within a stiffened panel.

This work was done by Brett A. Bednarcyk and Jacob Aboudi of Ohio Aerospace Institute and Phillip W. Yarrington of the Collier Research Corp. for Glenn Research Center. For more information, download the Technical Support Package (free white paper) at www.techbriefs.com/tsp under the Materials category.

Inquiries concerning rights for the commercial use of this invention should be addressed to

NASA Glenn Research Center
Innovative Partnerships Office
Attn: Steve Fedor
Mail Stop 4–8
21000 Brookpark Road
Ohio 44135.

Refer to LEW-18441-1.