Published in Composite Structures, Vol. 104, pp. 270-280, 2013
A method based on the Refined Zigzag Theory (RZT) to model delamination in composite laminated beam structures is presented. The novelty of this method is the use of one-dimensional finite elements to discretize the geometry of the beam. The key property of this beam element, named LRZ, is the possibility to capture the relative displacement between consecutive layers which occurs during delamination. The fracture mode that the LRZ element is capable to predict is mode II. In order to capture the relative displacement using the LRZ element it is necessary to adapt the RZT theory as presented in this paper. The mechanical properties of the layers are modeled using a continuum isotropic damage model. The modified Newton–Raphson method is used for solving the non-linear problem.
The RZT theory, the LRZ finite element and the isotropic damage model are described in the paper. Also, the implicit integrations algorithm is presented. The performance of the LRZ element is analyzed by studying the delamination in a beam for two different laminates, using the plane stress solution as a reference.