Failure of thick-skinned stiffener runout sections loaded in uniaxial compression

B G Falzon, G A O Davies, E Greenhalgh

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28 Citations (Scopus)


Recent efforts towards the development of the next generation of large civil and military transport aircraft within the European community have provided new impetus for investigating the potential use of composite material in the primary structure. One concern in this development is the vulnerability of co-cured stiffened structures to through-thickness stresses at the skin-stiffener interfaces particularly in stiffener runout regions. These regions are an inevitable consequence of the requirement to terminate stiffeners at cutouts, rib intersections or other structural features which interrupt the stiffener load path. In this respect, thickerskinned components are more vulnerable than thin-skinned ones. This work presents an experimental and numerical study of the failure of thick-sectioned stiffener runout specimens loaded in uniaxial compression. The experiments revealed that failure was initiated at the edge of the runout and propagated across the skin-stiffener interface. High frictional forces at the edge of the runout were also deduced from a fractographic analysis and it is postulated that these forces may enhance the fracture toughness of the specimens. Finite element analysis using an efficient thick-shell element and the Virtual Crack Closure Technique was able to qualitatively predict the crack growth characteristics for each specimen

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-233
Number of pages11
JournalComposite Structures
Issue number2
Early online date20 Jun 2001
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Ceramics and Composites

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