A separable cohesive element for modelling coupled failure in laminated composite materials

X. Lu*, B. Y. Chen, V. B.C. Tan, T. E. Tay

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)
44 Downloads (Pure)


A three-dimensional separable cohesive element (SCE) is proposed to enable the modelling of interaction between matrix cracking and interfacial delamination in laminated fibre-reinforced composite materials. It is demonstrated that traditional cohesive elements are incapable of modelling the coupled failure mechanisms accurately if partitioning is not allowed. The SCE may be partitioned according to the configuration and geometry of matrix cracks in adjacent plies, thus maintaining appropriate connection between plies. Physically, the original interface is split and new interfaces are formed to bond the homologous cracked solids during fracturing process. The stress concentration induced by matrix cracks and the load transfer from cracked solid elements to interface cohesive element are effectively modelled. A comprehensive set of cases of multiple matrix crack configurations from plies of different fiber angles is considered. The proposed SCE is applied to model progressive failure in composite laminates and the results are found to agree with experiments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-398
Number of pages12
JournalComposites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • A. Fracture
  • B. Computational modelling
  • C. Laminates
  • D. Floating node method


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