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Cohesive element formulation for z-pin delamination bridging in fibre reinforced laminates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)232-244
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Solids and Structures
Early online date26 May 2017
DateAccepted/In press - 25 May 2017
DateE-pub ahead of print - 26 May 2017
DatePublished (current) - Feb 2018


Z-pins are an effective method of reinforcing laminated composite materials for resisting the propagation of delamination. In this paper, a novel numerical method combines the classical cohesive finite element (FE) method with a semi-analytical z-pin crack bridging model.

Special purpose cohesive elements, in which the generalized traction-displacement characteristics are provided by the semi-analytical model z-pin bridging map, are implemented in macro-scale FE models. This cohesive element offers the flexibility to employ two cohesive laws concurrently for prediction of delamination propagation, for both the pinned and unpinned behaviour. Its efficacy is evaluated by the simulation of double cantilever beam (DCB), mixed-mode bend (MMB), and pure mode II End-Loaded Split (ELS) fracture tests at 2% z-pin areal density. The numerical results in terms of load-deflection predictions agree well with experiments. The different simulations were all performed using a single set of input parameters derived from single z-pin tests with no fitting factors.

    Research areas

  • Composite materials, Fibre reinforced, Delamination, Toughness

    Structured keywords

  • Composites UTC

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    Rights statement: This is the author accepted manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Elsevier at Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Accepted author manuscript, 6 MB, PDF document

    Licence: CC BY-NC-ND


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