Progressive damage and failure analysis (PDFA) tools are needed to predict the nonlinear response of advanced fiber-reinforced composite structures. Predictive tools should incorporate the underlying physics of the damage and failure mechanisms observed in the composite, and should utilize as few input parameters as possible.

The purpose of the Enhanced Schapery Theory (EST) was to create a PDFA tool that operates in conjunction with a commercially available finite element (FE) code (Abaqus). The tool captures the physics of the damage and failure mechanisms that result in the nonlinear behavior of the material, and the failure methodology employed yields numerical results that are relatively insensitive to changes in the FE mesh. The EST code is written in Fortran and compiled into a static library that is linked to Abaqus. A Fortran Abaqus UMAT material subroutine is used to facilitate the communication between Abaqus and EST.

A clear distinction between damage and failure is imposed. Damage mechanisms result in pre-peak nonlinearity in the stress strain curve. Four internal state variables (ISVs) are utilized to control the damage and failure degradation. All damage is said to result from matrix microdamage, and a single ISV marks the microdamage evolution as it is used to degrade the transverse and shear moduli of the lamina using a set of experimentally obtainable matrix microdamage functions. Three separate failure ISVs are used to incorporate failure due to fiber breakage, mode I matrix cracking, and mode II matrix cracking. Failure initiation is determined using a failure criterion, and the evolution of these ISVs is controlled by a set of traction-separation laws. The traction separation laws are postulated such that the area under the curves is equal to the fracture toughness of the material associated with the corresponding failure mechanism. A characteristic finite element length is used to transform the traction-separation laws into stress-strain laws. The ISV evolution equations are derived in a thermodynamically consistent manner by invoking the stationary principle on the total work of the system with respect to each ISV.

A novel feature is the inclusion of both pre-peak damage and appropriately scaled, post-peak strain softening failure. Also, the characteristic elements used in the failure degradation scheme are calculated using the element nodal coordinates, rather than simply the square root of the area of the element.

This work was done by Evan J. Pineda of Glenn Research Center and Anthony M. Waas of the University of Michigan.

Inquiries concerning rights for the commercial use of this invention should be addressed to NASA Glenn Research Center, Innovative Partnerships Office, Attn: Steven Fedor, Mail Stop 4–8, 21000 Brookpark Road, Cleveland, Ohio 44135. LEW-18954-1

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the July, 2013 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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