The ever growing interest of high performance composite materials can partially be attributed to relatively recent developments that enable the shift from traditional laminated composites made of unidirectional plies towards composites that include complex two- and three-dimensional features, such as woven textiles. These composites offer the possibility to design relatively thick components with a complex geometry as opposed to the more traditional thin-walled structures.
The success of these materials notwithstanding, the fundamentals of their mechanical behaviour upon failure is not well understood. Existing numerical and analytical techniques often fail to predict the initiation and development of damage to complete failure, especially under compressive stress states.
This project, which is funded by STW and industrial partners, aims at developing numerical techniques that are able to accurately predict the complex failure behaviour of woven composite materials in thick structural components under all stress states. The emphasis is put on the interaction between various failure mechanisms such as matrix cracking, fibre kinking and delamination.