Skin-stringer separation in post-buckling of butt-joint stiffened thermoplastic composite panels

K. S. van Dooren, B. H.A.H. Tijs, J. E.A. Waleson, C. Bisagni*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
59 Downloads (Pure)


Two aeronautical thermoplastic composite stiffened panels are analysed and tested to investigate the buckling behaviour, the skin-stringer separation and the final failure mode. The panels are made of fast crystallising polyetherketoneketone carbon composite, have three stringers with an angled cap on one side, and are joined to the skin by a short-fibre reinforced butt-joint. The panels contain an initial damage in the middle skin-stringer interface representing barely visible impact damage. Finite element analysis using the virtual crack closure technique are conducted before the test to predict the structural behaviour. During the tests, the deformation of the panels is measured by digital image correlation, the damage propagation is recorded by GoPro cameras and the final failure is captured by high speed cameras. The panels show an initial three half-wave buckling shape in each bay, with damage propagation starting shortly after buckling. A combination of relatively stable and unstable damage propagation is observed until final failure, when the middle stringer separates completely and the panels fail in an unstable manner. The test results are compared to the numerical prediction, which shows great agreement for both the buckling and failure behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116294
JournalComposite Structures
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Buckling
  • Butt-joint
  • Finite element analysis
  • Testing
  • Thermoplastic composite
  • Virtual Crack Closure Technique


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