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Buckling and Fracture Analysis of Composite Skin-Stringer Panel using Abaqus and VCCT 2005

Buckling and Fracture Analysis of Composite Skin-Stringer Panel using Abaqus and VCCT 2005

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Published by SIMULIACorp
This Technology Brief examines the behavior of a stringer-stiffened composite panel subjected to in-plane shear loading. The Cooperative Research Centre for Advanced Composite Structures experimentally tested single stiffener panels with a defect introduced in a portion of the bond between the skin and the stringer. Using the VCCT fracture analysis capability, the panel test is simulated and the results are compared to experimental data.
This Technology Brief examines the behavior of a stringer-stiffened composite panel subjected to in-plane shear loading. The Cooperative Research Centre for Advanced Composite Structures experimentally tested single stiffener panels with a defect introduced in a portion of the bond between the skin and the stringer. Using the VCCT fracture analysis capability, the panel test is simulated and the results are compared to experimental data.

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Published by: SIMULIACorp on Aug 17, 2012
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12/19/2014

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Abaqus Technology Brief 
TB-05-VCCT-1Revised: April 2007.
Summary
The use of composite materials in the aerospace industryis increasing. Composite materials offer a relatively highstrength-to-weight ratio as well as the ability to createlarge, integrated structures. One composite componentcan replace 10 or more traditional metal parts, which candramatically reduce manufacturing time and cost.The Boeing 787 will be the first airliner to use compositematerials in the majority of the aircraft construction. Analysis tools that can accurately simulate the behavior of composite materials are critical to the successful designand use of composite structures. Through the Composites Affordability Initiative (CAI), Boeing developed a finite ele-ment implementation of the Virtual Crack Closure Tech-nique (VCCT). Dassault Systèmes SIMULIA Corp.teamed with Boeing to provide this technology as a fea-ture of Abaqus/Standard. This capability allows for thesimulation of brittle interfacial crack propagation due todelamination/debonding.This technology brief examines the behavior of a stringer-stiffened composite panel subjected to in-plane shear loading. The Cooperative Research Centre for AdvancedComposite Structures (CRC-ACS) experimentally testedsingle stiffener panels with a defect introduced in aportion of the bond between the skin and the stringer.Using the VCCT fracture analysis capability, the paneltest is simulated and the results are compared to experi-mental data.
Background
One of the main failure modes for the skin of an aircraft isbuckling. Stringers are often bonded to composite panels
to help increase the panel’s buckling strength. The analy-
sis of such panels often investigates the total strengthassuming an initial flaw, such as a crack in the bond be-tween the skin and the stringer, and the strength of thepanel during crack growth.The information that the analyst and designer seek fromthe simulation of stringer-stiffened panels includes:1. the total load carrying capability of the panel2. the load at which a crack in the stringer bond line initi-ates3. the stringer debond/crack growth characteristicsThe VCCT fracture analysis capability in Abaqus simu-lates crack growth in bonded composite structures.
Key Features and Benefits
 
VCCT in Abaqus is applied during run time, soremeshing, reanalysis, and stand-alone post-processing are not necessary.Supports active propagation of delamination/debonding during loading.Calculates crack growth based on linear elasticfracture mechanics (LEFM). Allows mixed-mode crack growth, and includesthree popular mode mixity criteria.Can be included in a nonlinear analysis, andincludes frictional contact to prevent penetrationof cracked surfaces upon load reversal.Does not require a specialized postprocessor- Abaqus/Viewer postprocesses all VCCT results
.
 
Description of Problem
The goal of the CRC-ACS test and analysis program is todetermine the load carrying capability of a composite air-craft panel. The particular failure mode under investiga-tion is buckling of the panel under in-plane shear loading.The buckling is induced by applying a displacement toopposite corners of the panel. The panel being investi-gated, which is schematically shown with the test fixturein Figure 1, is flat and utilizes a single stiffening stringer.
 
Buckling and Fracture Analysis of Composite Skin/Stringer Panel Using VCCT
 
 
 
2
 
Finite Element Analysis Approach
For this problem CRC-ACS previously developed a finiteelement model of the panel that was used for designanalysis studies. This model, which was in NASTRANbulk data format, is converted into an Abaqus model us-ing the
fromnastran
utility and then imported into Abaqus/CAE for further definition of model and analysisparameters.The finite element model, which is shown in Figure 2, ismainly comprised of layered shell elements.
 
The stringer is co-cured to the panel. The panel and thestringer are made out of similar composite materials andsimilar ply lay-ups. The analysis and testing presentedhere investigate the load carrying capability of the panelassuming a flaw in the skin-stringer bond line. Flaws of this type are typically assumed to represent the largestundetectable flaw or crack. To simulate this flaw, a re-lease film is used to create an unbonded region in thebond between the panel and the stringer.There are two main effects of the introduction of a flaw inthe bonded structure. First, there is a reduced maximumload capability. Second, and more important, under loadthe crack will grow and further reduce the strength of thepanel. Both of these effects are investigated through thetest program and analytical simulation of the panel.
CLEVISTEST FIXTURECONNECTED TO LOWER JAWCONNECTED TO UPPER JAWTEST PANELWEB ANTI-BUCKLING BARSTIFFENER WEB
Figure 1: Schematic diagram of panel buckling test (Copyright CRC-ACS LTD., 2005)
Definition of VCCT Fracture Properties
The preparation of a VCCT analysis begins with the defi-nition of the surfaces for the region of possible debonding;these surfaces are then used in a contact pair. The inter-action properties for this contact pair are then defined toinclude the fracture parameters, such as the fracturetoughness and the mode mixity criteria.Three common mode-mix criteria are provided: the B-Klaw (see Ref. 1), the power law (see Ref. 2), and theThe region around the area of the initial flaw is more finelymeshed than the remainder of the panel. Mesh tie con-straints are used to join the fine mesh region to the coarsemesh region and to connect the panel to the stringer awayfrom the crack region. The mesh tie constraint facilitatesmodeling by automatically connecting meshes of differentdensities with a surface-based formulation.The fine mesh areas of the panel and the stringer areconnected using contact surfaces. Within the contact sur-faces the areas that are initially bonded and debondedmust be defined. In Figure 3 the initially debonded area isorange and the initially bonded area is dark blue.
Figure 2: Abaqus model of the skin-stringer panel with con-tact surfaces defined between the skin and the stringer inthe region of the initial crack and possible crack growth
 
Figure 3: Initially debonded area
 
 
3
 
Reeder law (see Ref. 3). For the present analysis thepower law model is used:
 
Loading 
The skin-stringer panel is loaded by applying an enforceddisplacement at the corner nodes of the panel (Figure 2).
Output 
The results recovered from the simulation mirrored themeasurements that were made during the actual paneltesting. The load versus deflection is recovered along without-of-plane displacements of the panel and strain meas-urements at various locations along the panel. In addition,the load at crack initiation and the crack growth character-istics are also recovered.
Results and Discussion
The panel did indeed buckle under the imposed displace-ment. The scaled deflected shape computed by Abaqus isshown in Figure 4. The buckling began before the crack inthe panel grew, and growth of the crack did reduce theoverall stiffness of the panel.Representative crack initiation and growth results areshown in Figures 5
 –
7, where the debonded region isshown in red. The crack growth initiated (first node re-leased) at a load of 116 kN, but further growth of thecrack did not occur until 146 kN, at which point manynodes released and the crack continued to grow with in-creasing load. These results are very close to observa-tions during the test program. Three nominally identicalpanels were tested. Based on audible acoustic emissions,crack initiation/growth for the panels occurred at 146 kN,154 kN, and 175 kN. These load values agree well withthe crack growth predicted in the simulation.
m n o I II III C IC IIC III
G G GGG G G G
The shape of the predicted crack growth correlated wellwith that observed experimentally. Figure 8 shows a pho-tograph of the debonded region in Panel 2 at the end of the test.
 
Figure 4: Deflected shape of the buckled panel 
 
Figure 5: Debonding at load of 116 kN Figure 6: Debonding at load of 148 kN Figure 7: Debonding at load of 216 kN 
 
Figure 8: Panel 2 crack growth occurred in the upper left  position, which matches analytical predictions(Copyright CRC-ACS LTD., 2005)

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