Global-local Finite Element Fracture Analysis of Curvilinearly Stiffened Panels and Adhesive Joints
Global-local finite element analyses were used to study the damage tolerance of curvilinearly stiffened panels; fabricated using the modern additive manufacturing process, the so-called unitized structures, and that of adhesive joints. A damage tolerance study of the unitized structures requires cracks to be defined in the vicinity of the critical stress zone. With the damage tolerance study of unitized structures as the focus, responses of curvilinearly stiffened panels to the combined shear and compression loadings were studied for different stiffeners' height. It was observed that the magnitude of the minimum principal stress in the panel was larger than the magnitudes of the maximum principal and von Mises stresses. It was also observed that the critical buckling load factor increased significantly with the increase of stiffeners' height.
To study the damage tolerance of curvilinearly stiffened panels, in the first step, buckling analysis of panels was performed to determine whether panels satisfied the buckling constraint. In the second step, stress distributions of the panel were analyzed to determine the location of the critical stress under the combined shear and compression loadings. Then, the fracture analysis of the curvilinearly stiffened panel with a crack of size 1.45 mm defined at the location of the critical stress, which was the common location with the maximum magnitude of the principal stresses and von Mises stress, was performed under combined shear and tensile loadings. This crack size was used because of the requirement of a sufficiently small crack, if the crack is in the vicinity of any stress raiser. A mesh sensitivity analysis was performed to validate the choice of the mesh density near the crack tip. All analyses were performed using global-local finite element method using MSC. Marc, and global finite element methods using MSC. Marc and ABAQUS. Negligible difference in results and 94% saving in the CPU time was achieved using the global-local finite element method over the global finite element method by using a mesh density of 8.4 element/mm ahead of the crack tip. To study the influence of different loads on basic modes of fracture, the shear and normal (tensile) loads were varied differently. It was observed that the case with the fixed shear load but variable normal loads and the case with the fixed normal load but variable shear loads were Mode-I. Under the maximum combined loading condition, the largest effective stress intensity factor was very smaller than the critical stress intensity factor. Therefore, considering the critical stress intensity factor of the panel with the crack of size 1.45 mm, the design of the stiffened panel was an optimum design satisfying damage tolerance constraints.
To acquire the trends in stress intensity factors for different crack lengths under different loadings, fracture analyses of curvilinearly stiffened panels with different crack lengths were performed by using a global-local finite element method under three different load cases: a) a shear load, b) a normal load, and c) a combined shear and normal loads. It was observed that 85% data storage space and the same amount in CPU time requirement could be saved using global-local finite element method compared to the standard global finite element analysis. It was also observed that the fracture mode in panels with different crack lengths was essentially Mode-I under the normal load case; Mode-II under the shear load case; and again Mode-I under the combined load case. Under the combined loading condition, the largest effective stress intensity factor of the panel with a crack of recommended size, if the crack is not in the vicinity of any stress raiser, was very smaller than the critical stress intensity factor.
This work also includes the performance evaluation of adhesive joints of two different materials. This research was motivated by our experience of an adhesive joint failure on a test-fixture that we used to experimentally validate the design of stiffened panels under a compression-shear load. In the test-fixture, steel tabs were adhesively bonded to an aluminum panel and this adhesive joint debonded before design loads on the test panel were fully applied. Therefore, the requirement of studying behavior of adhesive joints for assembling dissimilar materials was found to be necessary. To determine the failure load responsible for debonding of adhesive joints of two dissimilar materials, stress distributions in adhesive joints of the nonlinear finite element model of the test-fixture were studied under a gradually increasing compression-shear load. Since the design of the combined load test fixture was for transferring the in-plane shear and compression loads to the panel, in-plane loads might have been responsible for the debonding of the steel tabs, which was similar to the results obtained from the nonlinear finite element analysis of the combined load test fixture.
Then, fundamental studies were performed on the three-dimensional finite element models of adhesive lap joints and the Asymmetric Double Cantilever Beam (ADCB) joints for shear and peel deformations subjected to a loading similar to the in-plane loading conditions in the test-fixtures. The analysis was performed using ABAQUS, and the cohesive zone modeling was used to study the debonding growth. It was observed that the stronger adhesive joints could be obtained using the tougher adhesive and thicker adherends. The effect of end constraints on the fracture resistance of the ADCB specimen under compression was also investigated. The numerical observations showed that the delamination for the fixed end ADCB joints was more gradual than for the free end ADCB joints.
Finally, both the crack propagation and the characteristics of adhesive joints were studied using a global-local finite element method. Three cases were studied using the proposed global-local finite element method: a) adhesively bonded Double Cantilever Beam (DCB), b) an adhesive lap joint, and c) a three-point bending test specimen. Using global-local methods, in a crack propagation problem of an adhesively bonded DCB, more than 80% data storage space and more than 65% CPU time requirement could be saved. In the adhesive lap joints, around 70% data storage space and 70% CPU time requirement could be saved using the global-local method. For the three-point bending test specimen case, more than 90% for both data storage space and CPU time requirement could be saved using the global-local method.