Holistic determination of physical fracture toughness values and numerical parameters for delamination analysis considering multidirectional-interfaces
Delaminations are a concern for the structural integrity of fibre composite structures. The decisive material parameter for delaminations is fracture toughness. Structures usually have a multidirectional ply stacking. However, interface orientation dependant fracture toughness values and R-curve effects are neglected in numerical delamination analysis. This work investigates interface orientation specific fracture toughness values and considers R-curve effects in mode I to improve simulation accuracy. Therefore, mode I, mode II and mixed mode fracture toughness values of different interface ply orientations are determined experimentally and verified using numerical analysis of the characterisation specimens with cohesive zone modelling. In this way, an engineering methodology is provided for the experimental characterisation and comprehensive numerical modelling of delaminations in mesoscale progressive damage analysis of multidirectional composite structures. In addition, a full parameter set for the simulation of four different interfaces of M21-T700GC prepreg material is given. It can be shown that the use of standard 0°//0°-values leads to very conservative results. The use of interface specific values increases the accuracy. Ultrasonic scans of the DCB specimens are used to compare the crack front shapes for validation. Not only the load displacement curves of the characterisation specimens are well captured, but also the crack front shapes. This demonstrates that by smearing the microscale effects, the material behaviour can be captured phenomenologically correct by mesoscale modelling suitable for industrial use.