Notching and bolting are commonly utilised in connecting fibre-reinforced polymer (FRP) laminates. These mechanical methods are usually superior to other connections, particularly when joining thick composite laminates. Stress distributions, damage modes and ultimate strengths in notched or bolted FRP laminate designs are of particular interest to the industrial community. To predict the ultimate strengths and the failure processes of notched or bolted composite laminates, nonlinear progressive damage analyses (PDA) based on the finite element method (FEM) at the meso-scale level are performed in this paper. A three-dimensional strength criterion in terms of strains, which can distinguish different damage modes, was developed and adopted in the analysis model to detect damage initiation in the laminates. Different material degradation methods and the influence of cohesive layers were discussed and compared with results of verification experiments. The results showed that the analysis model that used the succinct strength criterion proposed in this paper could properly predict the damage initiation and the ultimate strengths of notched or bolted FRP laminates. The errors between the numerical results and experimental data were small. The material degradation method with continuum damage mechanics (CDM)-based exponential damage factors using the damage index as the independent variable achieved greater accuracy and convergence than the method with CDM-based exponential damage factors using the square index as the independent variable or than the method with constant damage factors. Adding cohesive layers in the model had negligible influence on the final results, largely because the succinct analysis model proposed in this paper is sufficiently accurate in cases of small delamination.
Liu, Y., Zwingmann, B., & Schlaich, M. (2014). Nonlinear progressive damage analysis of notched or bolted fibre-reinforced polymer (FRP) laminates based on a three-dimensional strain failure criterion. Polymers, 6(4), 949–976. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym6040949