Design of composite stiffener run-outs for damage tolerance

S. Psarras, S. T. Pinho, B. G. Falzon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


A major concern in stiffener run-out regions, where the stiffener is terminated due to a cut-out, intersecting rib, or some other structural feature which interrupts the load path, is the relatively weak skin–stiffener interface in the absence of mechanical fasteners. More damage tolerant stiffener run-outs are clearly required and these are investigated in this paper. Using a parametric finite element analysis, the run-out region was optimised for stable debonding crack growth. The modified run-out, as well as a baseline configuration, were manufactured and tested. Damage initiation and propagation was investigated in detail using state-of-the-art monitoring equipment including Acoustic Emission and Digital Image Correlation. As expected, the baseline configuration failed catastrophically. The modified run-out showed improved crack-growth stability, but subsequent delamination failure in the stiffener promptly led to catastrophic failure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)949-954
Number of pages6
JournalFinite Elements in Analysis and Design
Issue number8
Early online date03 Apr 2011
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analysis
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Engineering(all)
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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