Investigating the use of compliant webs in the damage-tolerant design of stiffener run-outs

Spyridon Psarras, Silvestre Pinho, Brian Falzon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


In this work, the use of a compliant web design for improved damage tolerance in stiffener run-outs is investigated. Firstly, a numerical study that incorporates the possibility of debonding and delamination (using VCCT) is used to select a favourable compliant run-out configuration. Then, three different configurations are compared to establish the merits of the compliant design: a baseline configuration, a configuration with optimised tapering and the selected compliant configuration. The performance of these configurations, in terms of strength and damage tolerance, was compared numerically using a parametric finite element analysis. The energy release rates for debonding and delamination, for different crack lengths across the specimen width, were used for this comparison. The three configurations were subsequently manufactured and tested. In order to monitor the failure process, acoustic emission (AE) equipment was used and proved valuable in the detection and analysis of failure. The predicted failure loads, based on the energy release rates, showed good agreement with the experiments, particularly when the distribution of energy release rate across the width of the specimen was taken into account. As predicted numerically, the compliant configuration failed by debonding and showed improved damage tolerance compared to the baseline and tapered stiffener run-outs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-77
Number of pages8
JournalComposites Part B: Engineering
Issue number1
Early online date30 Aug 2012
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013

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