Fatigue life and damage tolerance of postbuckled composite stiffened structures with indentation damage

Carlos G. Dávila, Chiara Bisagni*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
53 Downloads (Pure)


The fatigue life and damage tolerance of composite stiffened panels with indentation damage are investigated experimentally using single-stringer compression specimens. The indentation damage was induced to one of the two flanges of the stringer of every panel. The advantages of indentation compared to impact are the simplicity of application, less dependence on boundary conditions, better controllability, and repeatability of the imparted damage. The tests were conducted using advanced instrumentation, including digital image correlation, passive thermography, and in situ ultrasonic scanning. Specimens with initial indentation damage ranging between 32 and 56 mm in length were tested quasi-statically and in fatigue, and the effects of cyclic load amplitude and damage size were studied. A means of comparison of the damage propagation rates and collapse loads based on a stress intensity measure and the Paris law is proposed. The stress intensity measure provides the means to compare the collapse loads of specimens with different damage types and damage sizes, while the Paris law is used to compare the damage propagation rates in specimens subjected to different cyclic loads. This approach enables a comparison of different tests and the potential identification of the effects that influence the fatigue lives and damage tolerance of postbuckled structures with defects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)931-943
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Composite Materials
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


  • Composite structures
  • damage tolerance
  • fatigue
  • indentation damage
  • postbuckling
  • tests


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