Automated Delamination Onset and Growth Prediction in Composite Structures

Period of Performance: 05/15/2006 - 09/15/2007


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Global Engineering & Materials, Inc.
11 Alscot Drive
East Lyme, CT 06333
Principal Investigator


An automatic software tool for residual strength and life prediction of composite structure will be developed. This tool will for the first time be able to model arbitrary crack growth without user intervention or remeshing and thus provide a user-friendly, reliable tool for predicting component life. The automated delamination onset and growth prediction tool will be integrated with the ABAQUS implicit solver via its user-defined element (UEL). GEM has secured commitments for technical support from LM Aero, Bell Helicopter, and ABAQUS, who will provide supporting data, information, and expertise. In addition, our consultant, Professor Ted Belytschko from Northwestern University, will aid in basic theory development, tool development, and provide existing X-FEM solution modules that are relevant to delamination failure prediction. The multi-faceted feasibility study consists of developing a method that will enable the following 1) arbitrary insertion of multiple initial delamination cracks that are independent of the finite element mesh; 2) characterization of a growing crack without remeshing; 3) accurate extraction of strain energy release (SERR) rate using the enriched near tip displacement field via the virtual crack closure technique; 4) characterization of delamination closure via a frictional contact algorithm.