Energy dissipation during delamination in composite materials – an experimental assessment of the cohesive law and the stress-strain field ahead of a crack tip

Jalalvand, Meisam and Czél, Gergely and Fuller, Jonathan D. and Wisnom, Michael R. and Canal, Luis P. and González, Carlos D. and LLorca, Javier (2016) Energy dissipation during delamination in composite materials – an experimental assessment of the cohesive law and the stress-strain field ahead of a crack tip. Composites Science and Technology, 134. pp. 115-124. ISSN 0266-3538

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    Abstract

    This paper presents detailed experimental information on mode-II delamination development in fibre/epoxy composite materials and provides observations about the process zone in the vicinity of the crack tip. It is shown that the energy dissipated in delamination propagation is spent on two ways (i) creating new fracture surfaces (delamination) and (ii) nonlinear shear deformation in the composite plies adjacent to the delaminating interface. Therefore, the nonlinear process zone is not restricted to the resin-rich interface between the layers, but also extends into the fibre/epoxy composite layers. This is different from the conventional assumption in modelling delamination using cohesive elements where the fibre/epoxy layers are fully linear-elastic and the process zone is lumped at the plane of fracture. Based on the accurately measured displacement field around the crack tip, the experimental traction-separation relation at the interface is found to be trapezoidal which is again different from the conventional bilinear cohesive law.