Finite element modelling of composite structures under crushing load

Louis N S Chiu, Brian G. Falzon*, Romain Boman, Bernard Chen, Wenyi Yan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)
825 Downloads (Pure)


This paper details the theory and implementation of a composite damage model, addressing damage within a ply (intralaminar) and delamination (interlaminar), for the simulation of crushing of laminated composite structures. It includes a more accurate determination of the characteristic length to achieve mesh objectivity in capturing intralaminar damage consisting of matrix cracking and fibre failure, a load-history dependent material response, an isotropic hardening nonlinear matrix response, as well as a more physically-based interactive matrix-dominated damage mechanism. The developed damage model requires a set of material parameters obtained from a combination of standard and non-standard material characterisation tests. The fidelity of the model mitigates the need to manipulate, or "calibrate", the input data to achieve good agreement with experimental results. The intralaminar damage model was implemented as a VUMAT subroutine, and used in conjunction with an existing interlaminar damage model, in Abaqus/Explicit. This approach was validated through the simulation of the crushing of a cross-ply composite tube with a tulip-shaped trigger, loaded in uniaxial compression. Despite the complexity of the chosen geometry, excellent correlation was achieved with experimental results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-228
Number of pages14
JournalComposite Structures
Early online date09 May 2015
Publication statusPublished - 01 Nov 2015


  • Crushing response
  • Damage mechanics
  • Energy absorption
  • Finite element analysis
  • Non-linear behaviour
  • Structure failure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Ceramics and Composites


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