Thermo-Oxidative Induced Damage in Polymer Composites: Microstructure Image-Based Multi-Scale Modeling and Experimental Validation


A multi-scale modeling approach is presented to simulate and validate thermo-oxidation shrinkage and cracking damage of a high temperature polymer composite. The multi-scale approach investigates coupled transient diffusion-reaction and static structural at macro- to micro-scale. The micro-scale shrinkage deformation and cracking damage are simulated and validated using 2D and 3D simulations. Localized shrinkage displacement boundary conditions for the micro-scale simulations are determined from the respective meso- and macro-scale simulations, conducted for a cross-ply laminate. The meso-scale geometrical domain and the micro-scale geometry and mesh are developed using the object oriented finite element (OOF). The macro-scale shrinkage and weight loss are measured using unidirectional coupons and used to build the macro-shrinkage model. The cross-ply coupons are used to validate the macro-shrinkage model by the shrinkage profiles acquired using scanning electron images at the cracked surface. The macro-shrinkage model deformation shows a discrepancy when the micro-scale image-based cracking is computed. The local maximum shrinkage strain is assumed to be 13 times the maximum macro-shrinkage strain of 2.5 × 10−5, upon which the discrepancy is minimized. The microcrack damage of the composite is modeled using a static elastic analysis with extended finite element and cohesive surfaces by considering the modulus spatial evolution. The 3D shrinkage displacements are fed to the model using node-wise boundary/domain conditions of the respective oxidized region. Microcrack simulation results: length, meander, and opening are closely matched to the crack in the area of interest for the scanning electron images.


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Research Center/Lab(s)

Intelligent Systems Center

Second Research Center/Lab

Center for High Performance Computing Research


Published online: 07 Nov 2017

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

0929-189X; 1573-4897

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2017 Springer Verlag, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Oct 2018