Effect of clamping force on the delamination onset and growth in bolted composite laminates
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Clamping force is a key element that alters the mechanism and sequence of failure in bolted joints of composite laminates. The mode of failure in bolted joints can be controlled by geometrical parameters and the preferred fail safe mode of failure is 'bearing' which generally consists of matrix cracks, delamination and fibre microbuckling. Three-dimensional (3-D) pinned (without clamping force) and bolted (1 kN clamping force) joint models were developed in [0/90](s) carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) laminates to show the clamping force effect on the onset and growth of delamination. It is shown that delamination was resulted from the shear stress components (Mode II & Ill) at the interface and the contribution of the out-of-plane component (Mode I - opening), so the clamping force, was negligible without modelling the in-plane failure modes and their coupling with delamination, which will be considered in future work.