Analysis of delamination growth with discontinuous solid-like shell elements
Delamination is one of the most important failure mechanisms in laminates. Normally, it is modelled using interface elements. These elements are placed between two layers that are modelled with continuum elements. The interface elements are equipped with a softening or damage model in order to simulate debonding. This method has some drawbacks, both in a numerical and in a mechanical sense. A recent alternative is to simulate the crack by adding a discontinuous displacement mode to the continuum elements according to the partition of unity method. The elements do not contain the discontinuity prior to cracking, but when the ultimate stress in the bulk material is exceeded, delamination is initiated and additional degrees-of-freedom are activated. Beside this, a slightly different implementation is examined also. A discontinuity is predefined and has an initial dummy stiffness. Delamination is initiated when the tractions in the discontinuity exceed a threshold value. The results of both versions of this partition of unity model are compared mutually and with conventional interface elements by means of two examples.