Carbon-epoxy composite materials, due to their high strength in relation to mass, are increasingly used in the construction of aircraft structures, however, they are susceptible to a number of damages. One of the most common is delamination, which is a serious problem in the context of safe operation of such structures. As part of the TEBUK project, the Institute of Aviation has developed a methodology for forecasting the propagation of delamination. In order to validate the proposed method, an aerial structure demonstrator, modelled on the horizontal stabilizer of the I-23 Manager aircraft, was carried out. However, in order to carry out the validation, it was necessary to "simplify" the demonstrator model. The paper presents a numerical analysis conducted in order to separate from the TEBUK demonstrator model a fragment of the structure, which was used to study the delamination area, as an equivalent of the whole demonstrator. Subcomponent selection was carried out in several stages, narrowing down the analysed area covering delamination in subsequent steps and verifying the compliance of specific parameters with the same parameters obtained in a full demonstrator model. The parameters compared were: energy release rate values on the delamination front line and strain values in the delamination area. The numerical analyses presented in the paper were performed with the use of the MSC.Marc/Mentat calculation package. As a result of the analyses, a fragment of the structure was selected, which allows to significantly reduce the time and labour consumption of the production of the studied object, as well as to facilitate experimental research.
The article presents the results of research work performed under the TEBUK project, aiming primarily to develop a reference methodology for assessing the impact of damage on the strength of structures made of carbon epoxy prepregs. The tests described in the paper were concerned with a fragment of the structure (FS) of the TEBUK project demonstrator, made of carbon epoxy composite, with an artificial circular delamination measuring 40 mm in diameter. Numerical and experimental test of FS have been performed under quasi-static compression load. The buckling of the skin observed in the delamination area, as well as the propagation of the latter were investigated. The numerical calculations have been performed with the use of the commercially available MSC Marc/Mentat calculation suite based on the Finite Elements Methods. Results of the numerical calculations have been compared with experimental measurements made with the use of the Digital Image Correlation (DIC) method. The tests performed aimed to provide a preliminary verification of the numerical model. The results obtained have shown a very good correlation between the numerical and experimental results concerned with critical load levels at which stability of the layers separated by delamination is lost (buckling). The lack of convergence of the numerical model’s results after exceeding the critical load values has rendered it impossible to unequivocally compare the results concerned with propagation of the delamination area.