Published in Mechanics of Advanced Materials and Structures, Vol. 14 (2), pp. 89-105, 2007
A nonlinear resultant shell element is developed for the solution of problems of composite plates and shells undergoing nonlinear static and nonlinear dynamic behavior with progressive layer failure. The formulation of the tangent stiffness is defined on the mid-surface and is efficient for analyzing thick laminated plates and shells by incorporating bending moments and transverse shear resultant forces in the geometric stiffness. The composite element is free of both membrane and shear locking behavior by using the assumed natural strain method, such that the element also performs very well as thin laminate shells. An equilibrium approach is used to derive the improved transverse shear stiffness, instead of using a shear correction factor. The proposed formulation is computationally efficient and the test results show good agreement with references. The composite shell element is extended to determine ply failures in laminated composite structures undergoing nonlinear static or dynamic behavior. The failure analysis is done by first, computing for the inter-laminar stresses at each gauss point in an element. Having obtained the stresses in each layer, checking for failure is performed based on a chosen failure criterion. Four failure criteria are available to enable the user to adopt the appropriate criterion for the type of problem parameters present.