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A numerical approach to determine fiber orientations around geometric discontinuities in designing against failure of GFRP laminates

Roselita Fragoudakis (Department of Mechanical Engineering, Merrimack College, North Andover, Massachusetts, USA)

International Journal of Structural Integrity

ISSN: 1757-9864

Article publication date: 13 May 2019

Issue publication date: 19 July 2019




Determining fiber orientations around geometric discontinuities is challenging and simultaneously crucial when designing laminates against failure. The purpose of this paper is to present an approach for selecting the fiber orientations in the vicinity of a geometric discontinuity; more specifically round holes with edge cracks. Maximum stresses in the discontinuity region are calculated using Classical Lamination Theory (CLT) and the stress concentration factor for the aforementioned condition. The minimum moment to cause failure in a lamina is estimated using the Tsai–Hill and Tsai–Wu failure theories for a symmetric general stacking laminate. Fiber orientations around the discontinuity are obtained using the Tsai–Hill failure theory.


The current research focuses on a general stacking sequence laminate under three-point bending conditions. The laminate material is S2 fiber glass/epoxy. The concepts of mode I stress intensity factor and plastic zone radius are applied to decide the radius of the plastic zone, and stress concentration factor that multiplies the CLT stress distribution in the vicinity of the discontinuity. The magnitude of the minimum moment to cause failure in each ply is then estimated using the Tsai–Hill and Tsai–Wu failure theories, under the aforementioned stress concentration.


The findings of the study are as follows: it confirms the conclusions of previous research that the size and shape of the discontinuity have a significant effect on determining such orientations; the dimensions of the laminate and laminae not only affect the CLT results, but also the effect of the discontinuity in these results; and each lamina depending on its position in the laminate will have a different minimum load to cause failure and consequently, a different fiber orientation around the geometric discontinuity.


This paper discusses an important topic for the manufacturing and design against failure of Glass Fiber Reinforced Plastic (GFRP) laminated structures. The topic of introducing geometric discontinuities in unidirectional GFRP laminates is still a challenging one. This paper addresses these issues under 3pt bending conditions, a load condition rarely approached in literature. Therefore, it presents a fairly simple approach to strengthen geometric discontinuity regions without discontinuing fibers.



Fragoudakis, R. (2019), "A numerical approach to determine fiber orientations around geometric discontinuities in designing against failure of GFRP laminates", International Journal of Structural Integrity, Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 371-379.



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