A Fatigue Model to Predict Interlaminar Damage of FRP Composite Laminates Subjected to Mode I Load

Polymers (Basel). 2023 Jan 19;15(3):527. doi: 10.3390/polym15030527.


In fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composite laminate structures operating under fluctuating stresses, interface delamination is seen as one of the significant damage mechanisms. The constant degradation of their relatively low interlaminar strength and stiffness are the primary reasons for delamination. This study develops an interlaminar fatigue damage model to quantify the mechanics of the damage process and address the reliability of composite structures. The model considers the failure process in two stages: (1) damage due to degradation of interlaminar elastic properties, and (2) damage due to dissipation of fracture energy through the damage evolution process. The model is examined for a case study of mode I fatigue loading of a carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) composite laminate. The results show that the interlaminar normal stress is confined to the crack front region, with tensile stress peaks at 70% of the interlaminar strength. Furthermore, a stable interface crack growth is predicted initially, followed by a sudden crack "jump" at 14,000 cycles. The simulation results are compared with the experimental data, with very good agreement, showing a successful validation of the fatigue model.

Keywords: cyclic cohesive zone model; damage mechanics; fiber-reinforced polymer composite laminates; interface fatigue crack; interlaminar property degradation.

Grants and funding

The Open Access fee for publication of this manuscript is supported by the Universität der Bundeswehr München.