Composite Materials/Composite Modelling


Hello and good day sir.

I've read your paper on determination of material parameters for Abaqus progressive damage analysis of E-glass epoxy laminates and I assumed that you are quite familiar with Abaqus software. I would like to ask for your opinion on laminate composite modelling. Which type of elements would be better to use for laminate composite modelling? I'm comparing between 2D element or the 3D solid element. I'm not sure if Abaqus have 3D solid or 3D shell elements for laminated composite. Actually, I'm using Nastran and according to them, they have 3D solid and 3D shell elements to model laminate composite. I've known all this while that laminate composite are modelled using 2D elements and not 3D solid elements. I'm just wondering which would be a better choice for FEA on laminate composite.

Your doubts are explained in great detail in this book:

But, a short answer:
- 3D solid, computationally very expensive. Use only for modeling details like near a pin, bolt, hole, etc. Otherwise, the model takes too long to solve.
- 2D conventional are the most economical and the best overall.
- 2D solid are a hybrid between 2D and 3D. Use when you want a more refined representation thru the thickness of the shell. Read this paper: E. J. Barbero, 3-D Finite Element for Laminated Composites with 2-D Kinematic Constraints,  Computers and Structures, 45(2), 263-271, 1992.  

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Ever Barbero


Structural Mechanics, Mechanics of Materials, Structural Analysis, Material Modeling (numerical, analytical), Testing (mechanical, aging, etc.) of Composites and Polymers, mainly Polymer Matrix and to lesser extent Materials Science and Processing of same. See


Working with Composites since 1983, two patents.

Fellow, Society for the Advancement of Materials Process Engineering SAMPE
Fellow, American Society of Mechanical Engineers ASME
Member, American Society for Testing Materials ASTM
Member, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics AIAA
Member, American Society of Engineering Education ASEE

100+ peer reviewed papers on every major journal on composites and mechanics
Introduction to Composite Materials Design, ISBN: 1-56032-701-4,
Finite Element Analysis of Composite Materials, ISBN: 1-4200-5433-3,

PhD Engineering Science, 1989, Virginia Tech.

PhD Engineering Science, 1989, Virginia Tech.

Awards and Honors
SAMPE Fellow (2006).
ASME Fellow (2003).
Best Overall Paper Award, Combined Composite Expo’99 and ASCE Materials Conference’99, Cincinnati, OH.
Best Paper Award, 1999 ASME J. of Composites for Construction, Vol. 4, No. 4, p. 185-191.
MAE Alumni Academy Award for Outstanding Teaching, 1999.
SAMPE Faculty Advisor Award 1998.
Researcher of the Year, College of Engineering, WVU, 1996.
Outstanding Researcher Award, College of Engineering, WVU, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1999.
Best Advanced-Composite Paper Award, Composite Institute, Society of the Plastic Industry, 1994.
Outstanding Graduate Teacher Award, College of Engineering, WVU, 1992.

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