The structural performance of thickness-tapered laminates has been investigated using an energy-based damage tolerance methodology. The geometry studied is a thin laminate with discontinuous internal plies and a through-width delamination embedded at the interface between continuous and discontinuous sublaminates. An analytic model, based on shear deformation plate theory and linear-elastic fracture mechanics is employed to determine the Mode I and Mode II components of strain energy release rate. A two-dimensional plane strain finite element analysis is conducted to confirm the accuracy of the analytic predictions. The resulting pure mode strain energy release rates are combined with a mixed-mode growth criterion to predict the axial load required to induce delamination growth. Finally, the analytic and numerical model were used to predict failure in a delamination critical test specimen. Reasonable agreement of the actual and predicted failure loads was observed.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.