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Buckling analysis of stiffened variable angle tow panels

Coburn, Broderick H. and Wu, Zhangming and Weaver, Paul M. (2014) Buckling analysis of stiffened variable angle tow panels. Composite Structures, 111. ISSN 0263-8223

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    Variable angle tow (VAT) laminates have previously shown enhanced buckling performance compared to conventional straight fibre laminates. In this study, an analytical method is developed for the buckling analysis of a novel blade stiffened VAT panel to allow this potential to be more fully exploited. The prebuckling and buckling analysis, performed on a representative section of a blade stiffened VAT panel, are based on a generalised Rayleigh–Ritz procedure. The buckling analysis includes a first order shear deformation theory by introducing additional shape functions for transverse shear and is therefore applicable to structures with thick skins relative to characteristic length. Modelling of the stiffener is achieved with two approaches; idealisation as a beam attached to the skin’s midplane and as a rigidly attached plate. Comparing results with finite element analysis (Abaqus) for selected case studies, local buckling errors for the beam model and plate model were found to be less than 3% and 2% respectively, whilst the beam model error for global buckling was between 3% and 10%. The analytical model provides an accurate alternative to the computationally expensive finite element analysis and is therefore suitable for future work on the design and optimisation of stiffened VAT panels.