Carbon fiber/epoxy composites have been increasingly used to develop the lightweight high pressure hydrogen storage vessel in areas of the fuel cell vehicle. In this research, a numerical method is proposed to predict the progressive failure properties of the Al-carbon fiber/epoxy composite cylindrical laminates. A 3D finite element technique and the solution algorithm are proposed to investigate the real-time structural failure and damage properties with increasing internal pressure and the instant 3D stress state can be determined efficiently and accurately. The Tsai-Wu laminate failure criterion, three independent failure criteria including fiber break, matrix cracking and shear failure as well as the limited stiffness discount method are commonly employed as individual subroutines and incorporated into the numerical method. Parametric studies in terms of the effects of different stiffness reduction coefficients are conducted and the final failure strengths are also compared with the experimental results. This work provides a progressive understanding of the damage initiation and propagation behaviors of composite laminated structures above and the proposed numerical method can further serve as a guide for other laminated applications.

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