Determination of material properties for ANSYS progressive damage analysis of laminated composites (2022)


RegisterSign in


  • Access throughyour institution

Composite Structures

Volume 176,

15 September 2017

, Pages 768-779


A method is presented to calculate the material parameters required by the progressive damage analysis (PDA) material-model in ANSYS®. The proposed method is based on fitting results calculated with PDA to experimental data by using Design of Experiments and Direct Optimization. The method uses experimental modulus-reduction vs. strain data for only two laminates to fit all the parameters required by PDA transverse/shear damage mode. Fitted parameters are then used to predict and compare with the experimental response of other laminates. Mesh sensitivity of PDA is studied by performing p- and h-mesh refinement. PDA can then be used to predict the response with damage evolution of any layup.


Damage initiation and propagation in composite materials are of particular importance for the design, production, certification, and monitoring of an increasingly large variety of structures. While most models are implemented on shell-type formulations, some are implemented on solid-type finite element formulations [1].

One approach is to predict the response of each lamina using a meso-model that couples the behavior of each lamina with adjacent interlaminar layers [2]. An intralaminar damage model takes into account the effects of transverse matrix crack and the interlaminar layer takes into account delaminations. Parameter identification and validation with open–hole tensile tests on quasi-isotropic laminates is described in [3].

Another approach is to use serial-parallel mixing theory [4], [5], [6], or multi-continuum theory (MCT) [7], to simulate the onset and propagation of transverse matrix cracking and other failure mechanisms. The composite response is obtained from the constitutive behavior of its constituents, each one of them simulated with its own constitutive law. In this way, it is possible to use any given non-linear material model, such as damage or plasticity, to characterize the constituents. The accuracy of damage onset and evolution predictions depends on the accuracy of the constituent models used.

Most of the models developed specifically to address the phenomenon of transverse matrix cracking are meso-models, meaning that each lamina is considered to be a homogeneous, orthotropic material [8]. Some models, such as Progressive Damage Analysis (PDA) use strength properties to predict damage onset, and fracture mechanics properties to predict damage evolution [9], [10]. Others, such as Discrete Damage Mechanics (DDM) [11] use only fracture mechanics properties to predict both damage initiation and damage evolution.

Regardless of how initiation is predicted, evolution is commonly predicted by establishing a relation between the available strain energy in the material and the density of matrix cracks [12], [13], [14], [15], [16]. For example, [17] uses Finite Fracture Mechanics (FFM) to obtain the energy release rate required to double the crack density, by propagation of a new crack between two existing cracks, or by continuous variation of crack density [18]. Similarly, the equivalent constrained model (ECM) [19], [20], defines a law that provides the evolution of stiffness as a function of matrix crack density.

Regarding the solution of the stress and strain field in the vicinity of a crack, which is necessary to calculate the strain energy release rate (ERR), most models approximate the problem as being periodic. However, numerical models such as PDA are not constrained by this assumption. While most models calculate the ERR using the equations of elasticity, with various degrees of approximation, others use Crack Opening Displacement approximations [14], [16], [21].

Some of the above mentioned formulations provide analytical expressions that can be used to obtain the mechanical response for simple geometry and load configurations. However, it is often necessary to include the constitutive model into Finite Element Analysis (FEA) software. Some models have been included in commercial FEA software [9], [10], [22]. Others are available as plugins for existing FEA software [7], [23], or as user programmable features, including UMAT, UGENS, UserMAT [24], and VUMAT [1].

ANSYS Mechanical provides progressive damage analysis (PDA) starting with release 15. Furthermore, ANSYS Workbench allows optimization of any set of variables to any user defined objective defined in a Mechanical APDL (MAPDL) model by importing the APDL script into Workbench and using Design of Experiments (DoE) and Direct Optimization (DO). Since PDA is not implemented in the graphical user interface (GUI) of ANSYS Workbench, the user must use APDL commands to define the damage initiation criterion, damage evolution law, and material parameters, as described in this manuscript.

Although elastic moduli are available for many composite material systems, the same is not true for the additional material properties required by PDA. However, laminate modulus and Poisson’s ratio degradation of laminated composites as a function of applied strain are available for several material systems, for example [21], [25], [26]. This study shows how to use available data to infer the material parameters required by PDA. Specifically, the main purpose of this study is to find in situ values [27] of transverse tensile strength F2t, in-plane shear strength F6, and energy dissipation per unit area Gc (transverse tensile/shear mode) for the material system (composite lamina) which can be used in PDA to predict damage initiation and evolution of laminated composite structures built with the same material system but different laminate stacking sequence (LSS), geometry, loads, and boundary conditions. Experimental data from [21], [25] is used for illustration in this study.

The proposed method requires experimental data in the form of laminate extensional modulus Ex reduction (or laminate shear modulus Gxy reduction, or laminate Poisson’s ratio νxy reduction) vs. damage for two laminates. One laminate should have a significant component of mode I (opening) crack propagation and the other a significant component of mode II (shear) crack propagation, such as for example [0/90]S and [0/±θ]S, respectively. Extensional modulus reduction tests are the easiest to perform but the user could use laminate shear or Poisson’s ratio reduction as well.

The stated objective is achieved by minimizing the error between PDA predictions and available experimental data. Once the input parameters F2t,F6,Gc are found, the accuracy of PDA predictions is checked by comparing those predictions with experimental data for other laminates that has not been used to fit the input parameters. In fact, experimental data for only two laminates are required to fit the parameters. The input parameters are fitted using an specific mesh (one element) and type of element (SHELL 181). However, several types of elements and variable mesh refinement are customarily used for the analysis of a complex structure. Therefore, sensitivity of the PDA predictions with respect to mesh refinement and element type (quadratic vs. linear) is assessed in this work by performing both p- and h-refinement.

Section snippets

Progressive damage analysis

To perform progressive damage analysis of composite materials, the user needs to provide linear elastic orthotropic material properties and two material models: damage initiation and damage evolution law.


In this section we propose a methodology using Design of Experiments (DoE) and Design Optimization (DO) to adjust the values of F2t,F6, and Gc, so that the PDA prediction closely approximates the experimental data.

First we use DoE to identify the laminates that are most sensitive to each parameter. The focus at this point is to identify the minimum number of experiments that are needed to adjust the parameters. In this way, additional experiments conducted with different laminate stacking

Comparison with experiments

In this section, predicted laminate modulus Ex(x) with parameters listed in Table 7 are compared with experimental data for all the laminates. The error (8) for each laminate is reported in Table 6.

Laminates #1 through 5 have a cluster of 8 plies in the layer that is subject to transverse matrix cracking (Table 2). Since the in situ transverse tensile strength was adjusted with laminate #1, damage onset can be predicted well with PDA, as shown in Fig. 5, Fig. 12, Fig. 13, Fig. 14, but not on

Mesh sensitivity

Mesh sensitivity refers to how much the solution changes with mesh density, number of elements, number of nodes, and element type used to discretize the problem under study. There are two sources of mesh sensitivity. The most obvious is type I sensitivity, where the quality of the solution, particularly stress and strain gradients, depends on mesh density; the finer the mesh, the better the accuracy of the solution. Assuming that the mesh is refined enough to capture stress/strain gradients


A novel methodology is proposed to determine the material parameters for Progressive Damage Analysis (PDA) in ANSYS and the procedure is explained in detail.

It is observed that adjusted material parameters F2t,F6,Gc, can be used to predict damage initiation and evolution in laminated composites using ANSYS, and that good comparison with available experimental data can be achieved with certain restrictions.

The in situ strength values F2t and F6 should be adjusted with data from laminates with


The authors acknowledge the infrastructure support from the Energy Materials Science and Engineering (EMSE) program at West Virginia University.

References (43)

  • A. Madeo et al.A mixed isostatic 16 dof quadrilateral membrane element with drilling rotations based on Airy stresses

    Finite Elem Anal Des


  • F. Otero et al.An efficient multi-scale method for non-linear analysis of composite structures

    Compos Struct


  • X. Martinez et al.Analysis of ultra low cycle fatigue problems with the barcelona plastic damage model and a new isotropic hardening law

    Int J Fatigue


  • P. Camanho et al.Prediction of in situ strengths and matrix cracking in composites under transverse tension and in-plane shear

    Compos Part A: Appl Sci Manuf


  • P. Camanho et al.Prediction of in situ strengths and matrix cracking in composites under transverse tension and in-plane shear

    Compos Part A: Appl Sci Manuf


  • J. Varna et al.Damage in composite laminates with off-axis plies

    Compos Sci Technol


  • J. Varna et al.A synergistic damage-mechanics analysis of transverse cracking [±θ/904]s laminates

    Compos Sci Technol


  • D.T.G. Katerelos et al.Energy criterion for modeling damage evolution in cross-ply composite laminates

    Compos Sci Technol


  • D.T.G. Katerelos et al.Matrix cracking in polymeric composites laminates: modeling and experiments

    Compos Sci Technol


  • S.H. Lim et al.Energy release rates for transverse cracking and delaminations induced by transverse cracks in laminated composites

    Compos Part A


  • E. Adolfsson et al.Matrix crack initiation and progression in composite laminates subjected to bending and extension

    Int J Solids Struct


  • A. Matzenmiller et al.A constitutive model for anisotropic damage in fiber-composites

    Mech Mater


  • X. Martinez et al.Computationally optimized formulation for the simulation of composite materials and delamination failures

    Compos Part B


  • F. Rastellini et al.Composite materials non-linear modelling for long fibre-reinforced laminates continuum basis computational aspects and validations

    Comput Struct


  • E. Abisset et al.On the validation of a damage mesomodel for laminated composites by means of open-hole tensile tests on quasi-isotropic laminates

    Compos Part A


  • P. Ladevèze et al.A mesomodel for localisation and damage computation in laminates
  • M.V. Donadon et al.

    A three-dimensional ply failure model for composite structures

    Int J Aerosp Eng (Hindawi)


  • X. Martinez et al.

    Numerical simulation of matrix reinforced composite materials subjected to compression loads

    Arch Comput Methods Eng


  • Firehole Composites, Helius MCT Composite Materials Analysis Software, 2016, URL...
  • E. Barbero et al.

    Damage model for composites defined in terms of available data

    Mech Compos Mater Struct


  • Camanho P, Davila C. Mixed-mode decohesion finite elements for the simulation of delamination in composite materials....
  • Cited by (36)

    • A numerical study on the effect of delamination on composite cylindrical shells subjected to hydrostatic pressure

      2022, Ocean Engineering

      This paper deals with the delamination damage and the effect of buckling behavior on delamination propagation of the composite cylindrical shell subjected to hydrostatic pressure. The model of the composite shell with initial delamination and geometric imperfection is elaborated numerically by using the finite element method. The virtual crack closure technique is employed to calculate the strain energy release rate, and the linear fracture criterion is used to determine the onset and growth of the delamination. The buckling deformation and delamination propagation are monitored by performing the nonlinear buckling analysis. In addition, a parametric study is carried out to investigate the influence of the initial delamination shape, area, depth, and ply orientation on ultimate pressure and delamination propagation path. The results show that local or global buckling of the shell promotes the propagation of delamination, and the ultimate buckling pressure of the shell is more sensitive to the axial initial delamination length. The initial delamination shape, depth, and ply orientation have different influences on the ultimate pressure of the shell and the delamination propagation path, and the corresponding explanations are given in this paper.

    • Multiscale numerical methodology for assessing fracture toughness enhancement due to nanoclay inclusion in fiber-reinforced polymer composites

      2022, International Journal of Solids and Structures

      With the purpose of serving as a design tool for improving composite material properties, the present work develops a numerical-computational algorithm capable of predicting engineering constants and toughness enhancement due to nanoclay addition to a carbon/epoxy material system. Based on the intersection method, the iterative algorithm finds the critical debonding and shear banding radii, which in turn give the corresponding toughness enhancements as output. In addition, the algorithm requires input data such as homogenized constants and energy release rates as well as stress and displacement fields at the nanoscale, all of them obtained in this work via finite element method-based unit cells. Numerical results for both engineering constants and toughness enhancements show that both phenomena are in effect multi-scale in nature and such results are consistent with the theoretical and experimental results available in the literature.

    • Stress state failure analysis of thin-walled GLARE composite members subjected to axial loading in the post-buckling range

      2022, Composite Structures

      The paper investigated the load-carrying capacity and the participation of stress components in the failure analysis of top-hat-shaped composite columns subjected to uniform compression. GLARE members were axially compressed in laboratory tests employing a static testing unit. Failure tests were monitored in the full load range using the digital image correlation (DIC) system, which enabled visualization of full-field displacements and strains. Simultaneously, FEM numerical simulations were carried out to estimate the load-carrying capacity of the top-hat-shaped sections based on the nominal stress state in both the non-degraded and degraded composite models. In the latter, the material property degradation method (MPDG) allowed a progressive lowering of the material stiffness based on the presumed damage variables. Failure initiation in composite plies was monitored in FE simulations based on Hashin and Puck failure criteria. Stress state analysis was performed to investigate the participation of stress tensor components in the failure function of selected failure criteria. This enabled the identification of critical stresses contributing to aluminum plastic deformation and intra-laminar failure mechanisms that led to the composite fracture. The results of the numerical simulations were found to be in high agreement with the experimental evidence.

    • Exploring thermography technique to validate multiscale procedure for notched CFRP plates

      2022, Composites Part C: Open Access

      Stress concentrations induced by notches is an engineering problem, presented in most real structural failures. Due to the importance of this topic and considering the large amount of variables related to composite design, a novel multiscale procedure is proposed to evaluate damage onset and propagation in notched composite plates, minimizing the amount of experimental test required. The micromechanical modeling combines Tsai's modulus with VSPK model, while the macromechanical modeling uses the finite element method and the Puck failure criterion. Experimentally, tensile tests of notched plates are carried out monitored by thermographic camera. The thermography technique is a fundamental part of the proposed methodology, due to its capability to capture damage onset related to significative heating events. Just 3 experimental tests are necessary: 1 unnotched specimen for tensile test and 2 notched specimens monitored with thermography. 3 constituents’ properties from supplier datasheet are necessary to obtain others 15 properties: 8 lamina properties, 2 matrix properties and 5 fiber properties. Comparing the experimental results with the numerical-analytical methodology, a mean square error of 1.42% is obtained.

    • Accurate finite element modelling of knots and related fibre deviations in structural timber

      2022, Journal of King Saud University - Engineering Sciences

      The primary purpose of the pursued research presented in this article was to propose a new technique to create the actual three-dimensional geometry of knots and related fibre deviations and eliminate the inconsistency between modelling the knots as openings or solids. The geometrical and mechanical characteristics of knots and related local disturbed fibre patterns were numerically modelled. The numerical models were experimentally validated by four-point bending tests performed on six timber beams made of Nordic spruce (Picea abies). Tested specimens were sliced up into several strips parallel to the grains in the vicinity of the knot to numerically generate the actual geometrical model of the knots and related fibre deviations for creating the three-dimensional fibre paradigm. The validated numerical models can also be used based on visual inspections. The user needs only to define the position and size of the knot within the timber element required for the 3D finite element model. Moreover, the model allows defining different fibre patterns in the knot vicinity. Results proved that openings can represent knots when found in the tension zone with careful adjustment of the related three-dimensional fibre deviations. Moreover, the results emphasize the need for accurate modelling for the fibre deviations rather than the knot itself.

    • The Influence of Fiber Size Toward Mechanical and Thermal Properties of Roselle Fiber-Reinforced Polylactide (PLA) Composites by Using Ansys Software

      2021, Roselle: Production, Processing, Products and Biocomposites

      Natural fibers are used as an alternative resource due to environmental issues and petroleum depletion. Over the last few years, roselle plants have been widely exploited as a source of natural fiber. The natural fiber has been able to benefit both the economy and environment. This research presents the effect of fiber size on mechanical and thermal properties of roselle fiber-reinforced polylactide (PLA) composites by using ANSYS software. The purpose of this project was to evaluate the effect of fiber size on the mechanical and thermal properties of roselle fiber-reinforced PLA composites by using ANSYS software. In order to evaluate the effect of fiber size, three parameters were set. An updated three-dimensional finite element model was developed in the ANSYS 16.1 workbench to determine the characterization of the composites under functionally suitable loading conditions. Past researchers have conducted studies on different fiber length and different fiber loading orientations, including different materials widely used in developing countries. The meshing process is important as it indicates a good result between fiber and matrix, which improved the mechanical and thermal properties of the composites in the simulation analysis. The best fiber size was determined in this research for the performance of mechanical and thermal properties of the composites.

    View all citing articles on Scopus

    Recommended articles (6)

    • Research article

      Effects of shear loading on stress distributions at sections in thick composite tubes

      Composite Structures, Volume 140, 2016, pp. 433-445

      In the previous study (Yazdani Sarvestani, submitted for publication), a new simple-input displacement-based method (based on layerwise formulation) was developed for the stress analysis of thick laminated composite straight tubes subjected to cantilever loading. This method provides a quick, convenient and accurate method for the determination of 3D stresses in thick composite tubes subjected to both bending and shear loading. The technique in this method is now used to study the behavior of stress distributions in thick composite straight tubes with different lay-up sequences considering effects of the shear load part of cantilever loading. Knowledge is extracted from the parametric study showing effects of the orientations of different layers on the stresses.

    • Research article

      Progressive failure analysis of open-hole composite hoops under radial loading

      Composites Part B: Engineering, Volume 97, 2016, pp. 336-343

      In this article a finite element-based analysis and experimental study of geometrically non-linear progressive failure analysis of open-hole composite laminated hoops under radial loading is presented. In the finite element analysis the mode-dependent failure criterion Hashin failure criterion and Reddy's sudden material property degradation model are coded using ANSYS-APDL and a progressive failure analysis code is developed. Based on a tensile test machine the experimental fixtures are designed and implemented to apply radial loading on inner surface of the composite hoops. Progressive failure analysis of the sample composite laminated hoops with an open-hole of different diameters subjected to radial loading are performed to study the effect of geometric non-linearity on the failure initiation and propagation. Results show that with large longitudinal strength the circumferential crack is the main failure form because of the shear effect. And, diameters of the open-holes have a significant influence on the initiation and propagation of the failure.

    • Research article

      Three-dimensional stress analysis of orthotropic curved tubes-part 1: Single-layer solution

      European Journal of Mechanics - A/Solids, Volume 60, 2016, pp. 327-338

      In this paper (Part 1), a new displacement-based method is proposed to investigate orthotropic curved tubes subjected to pure bending moment. A displacement approach of Toroidal Elasticity is chosen to analyze orthotropic curved tubes with a single layer. The governing equations are developed in three toroidal coordinates system. The method of successive approximation is used to find the general solution. Then, the governing equations are decomposed into different orders, based on a small parameter. The formulas for calculating different order displacement components are derived. The accuracy of the proposed method is subsequently verified by comparing the numerical results obtained using the proposed method with finite element method (FEM), stress-based Toroidal Elasticity and Lekhnitskii solution. The results show good correspondence. The proposed method provides advantages in terms of computational time compared to FEM.

    • Research article

      Simulating of the Composite Cylindrical Shell of the Pipe of the Supply Pipelines Based on ANSYS Package

      Procedia Engineering, Volume 152, 2016, pp. 332-338

      The simulating of the composite cylindrical shell of the antivibration pipe based on a study of stress-strain state caused with excess pressure was carried out. Contacting interaction of the pipe shall wall in the area bordering the metal flange was conducted. The conducted finite element analysis of the stress state of the composite shell reveals the most loaded areas which represent potential danger in terms of the destruction of rubber-cord array.

    • Research article

      Progressive damage analysis as a design tool for composite bonded joints

      Composites Part B: Engineering, Volume 77, 2015, pp. 474-483

      This paper discusses the application of progressive damage analysis (PDA) methods as a design tool. Two case studies are presented in which the effects of changing design features on the strength of bonded composite joints are evaluated. It is shown that the trends of parametric evaluations performed with full-featured PDA models can be unintuitive and the trends can be opposite to those obtained with traditional design criteria. The joint configurations that were tested exhibit multiple damage modes, requiring several different PDA tools to accurately predict the structural peak loads. For damage tolerant structures that exhibit complex sequences of multiple failure mechanisms, traditional failure prediction tools are insufficient. Parametric PDA models encompassing a bonded joint specimen's design space have the potential to reveal unintuitive and advantageous design changes.

    • Research article

      Analysis of mechanical properties of natural fibre composites by experimental with FEA

      Materials Today: Proceedings, Volume 28, Part 2, 2020, pp. 1149-1153

      The domain of Biomaterials has provided a vast scope for research and development and this work is one such effort to develop a Bio Hybrid Composite that is bio degradable and hence eco-friendly with enhanced mechanical properties as well. The present investigation is on fabrication and evaluation of mechanical properties of Bio Hybrid Composite with different natural fibres–flax fibre woven mat, Aloe Vera fibre woven mat, and sisal fibre that are used as reinforcing lamination materials bonded with epoxy resin. This hybrid composite is prepared by the hand lay-up process and the experimental tests for tension, flexural, impact, and hardness are carried out in accordance with ASTM standards. The prepared composite material is also analysed by Finite Element Analysis Method (ANSYS 16.2) and the obtained analytical results are compared with real time experimental values.

    View full text

    © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

    You might also like

    Latest Posts

    Article information

    Author: Domingo Moore

    Last Updated: 08/13/2022

    Views: 6542

    Rating: 4.2 / 5 (73 voted)

    Reviews: 88% of readers found this page helpful

    Author information

    Name: Domingo Moore

    Birthday: 1997-05-20

    Address: 6485 Kohler Route, Antonioton, VT 77375-0299

    Phone: +3213869077934

    Job: Sales Analyst

    Hobby: Kayaking, Roller skating, Cabaret, Rugby, Homebrewing, Creative writing, amateur radio

    Introduction: My name is Domingo Moore, I am a attractive, gorgeous, funny, jolly, spotless, nice, fantastic person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.