Nonlinear analysis of layered structures with weak interfaces

This work addresses nonlinear finite element analysis of laminated structures with weak interfaces. Considered first are shallow laminated beams subject to arbitrary large displacements, small layer strains and moderate interface slippage. Under these requirements rigorous development of layer-wise kinematic field is performed assuming First order Shear Deformation Theory (FSDT) at the layer level. The final form of this field is highly nonlinear and thus awkward in direct finite element (FE) implementation. However, the small strain assumption allows decomposition of element displacements into large rigid-body-motion and small deforming displacement field. In this case, the conjunction of linearized kinematic relations and the von Kármán strain measure applied in moving element frame allows for robust co-rotational FE formulation. This formulation is here extended to account for material nonlinear behaviour of layers and interfaces. To complete the development, means of obtaining efficient FE implementation are indicated. Discussed topics include the choice of suitable element interpolation schemes, proficient methods of alleviating numerical locking, evaluation of element deforming displacement field and management of layer-wise boundary conditions. In addition, a novel approach is proposed for a posteriori enhancement of the transverse shear stress distribution. Finally, the proposed model is tested with a number of demanding benchmark tests. The above modelling approach is next extended to geometric nonlinear analysis of laminated plates. Constraining plate displacements to be moderate (in von Kármán's sense) and using Total-Lagrangian FE formulation it is shown that the simplicity and robustness of the beam formulation can be preserved also in plate analysis. FE solutions obtained with the adopted approach are again shown to provide reliable results in global and local scale. However, it is also indicated that methods used to alleviate shear locking in single-layer plate elements are not entirely satisfactory in multi-layer ones. Thus, FE implementation allowing for non-regular meshes needs yet to be identified. Considered next is the possibility of extending the developed plate model to the corotational FE analysis of shallow laminated shells. Primary concern here is assuring consistency of 3D rotations of element vectors and matrices. This problem is resolved here by modifying the description of interface displacement field and including vertex rotations in finite element kinematics. With these enhancements FE matrix formulation is constructed to allow geometric nonlinear analysis of shallow laminated shells subject to arbitrary large displacements, small layer strains and moderate interface slippage.

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