Mode II delamination toughness of z-pin reinforced composite laminates is investigated using finite element (FE) method. The z-pin pullout process is simulated by the deformation and breakage of non-linear springs. A critical shear stress criterion based on linear elastic fracture mechanics is used to simulate crack growth in an end-notched-flexure (ENF) beam made of z-pinned laminates. The mode II toughness is quantified by the potential energy release rate calculated using the contour integral method. This FE model is verified for an unpinned ENF composite beam. Numerical results obtained indicate that z-pins can significantly increase the mode II delamination toughness of composite laminate. The effects of design variables on the toughness enhancement of z-pinned laminates are also studied, which provides an important technological base and useful data to optimize and improve the z-pinning technique.
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