Micromechanics-based progressive failure analysis of composite laminates using different constituent failure theories

Albert M. Moncada, Aditi Chattopadhyay, Brett A. Bednarcyk, Steven M. Arnold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations


Predicting failure in a composite can be performed using ply level mechanisms and/or micro level mechanisms. This paper uses the generalized method of cells and high-fidelity generalized method of cells micromechanics theories, coupled with classical lamination theory, to study progressive damage in composites. Different failure theories, implemented at the fiber and matrix constituent level within a laminate, are investigated. A comparison is made among maximum stress, maximum strain, Tsai-Hill, and Tsai-Wu failure theories. To verify the failure theories, the Worldwide Failure Exercise experiments are used. The Worldwide Failure Exercise is a comprehensive study that covers a wide range of polymer matrix composite laminates. The objectives of this paper are to evaluate the current predictive capabilities of the generalized method of cells and high-fidelity generalized method of cells micromechanics theories for the progressive failure prediction of polymer matrix composite laminates and to evaluate the influence of four failure criteria applied at the fiber/matrix constituent scale. The numerical results demonstrate overall agreement with the experimental results for most of the composite layups examined, but also point to the need for more accurate resin damage progression models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1467-1487
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Reinforced Plastics and Composites
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012



  • composite material
  • failure
  • Micromechanics
  • Worldwide Failure Exercise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Ceramics and Composites

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