A Large-scale Finite Element Model on Micromechanical Damage and Failure of Carbon Fiber/Epoxy Composites Including Thermal Residual Stress

Research paper by P. F. Liu, X. K. Li

Indexed on: 25 Oct '17Published on: 09 Sep '17Published in: Applied Composite Materials


The purpose of this paper is to study micromechanical progressive failure properties of carbon fiber/epoxy composites with thermal residual stress by finite element analysis (FEA). Composite microstructures with hexagonal fiber distribution are used for the representative volume element (RVE), where an initial fiber breakage is assumed. Fiber breakage with random fiber strength is predicted using Monte Carlo simulation, progressive matrix damage is predicted by proposing a continuum damage mechanics model and interface failure is simulated using Xu and Needleman’s cohesive model. Temperature dependent thermal expansion coefficients for epoxy matrix are used. FEA by developing numerical codes using ANSYS finite element software is divided into two steps: 1. Thermal residual stresses due to mismatch between fiber and matrix are calculated; 2. Longitudinal tensile load is further exerted on the RVE to perform progressive failure analysis of carbon fiber/epoxy composites. Numerical convergence is solved by introducing the viscous damping effect properly. The extended Mori-Tanaka method that considers interface debonding is used to get homogenized mechanical responses of composites. Three main results by FEA are obtained: 1. the real-time matrix cracking, fiber breakage and interface debonding with increasing tensile strain is simulated. 2. the stress concentration coefficients on neighbouring fibers near the initial broken fiber and the axial fiber stress distribution along the broken fiber are predicted, compared with the results using the global and local load-sharing models based on the shear-lag theory. 3. the tensile strength of composite by FEA is compared with those by the shear-lag theory and experiments. Finally, the tensile stress-strain curve of composites by FEA is applied to the progressive failure analysis of composite pressure vessel.