The impact damage tolerance of fiber-reinforced laminated composite materials is a source of concern, mainly due to internal induced damage which causes large reductions on the strength and stability of the structure. This paper presents a procedure based on a finite element formulation that can be used to perform numerical predictions of the impact induced internal damage in composite laminates. The procedure is based on simulating the composite performance using a micro-mechanical approach named matrix-reinforced mixing theory, a simplified version of the serial/parallel mixing theory that does not require neither the iterative procedure nor the calculation of the tangent stiffness tensor. The numerical formulation uses continuum mechanics to simulate the phenomenon of initiation and propagation of interlaminar damage with no need to formulate interface elements, resulting in a computationally less demanding formulation. To demonstrate the capability of numerical procedure when applied to a low-velocity impact problem, numerical results are compared with the experimental ones obtained in a test campaign performed on 44 laminates specimens subjected to an out-of-plane and concentrated impact event, according to ASTM test method. Results are in good agreement with experimental data in terms of delamination onset and the internal spatial distribution of induced damage.
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