Impact simulation of composite panels for aerospace applications

Loukham Shyamsunder, Ashutosh Maurya, Subramaniam D. Rajan, Daniel Cordasco, Duane Revilock, Gunther Blankenhorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The aerospace research community has been working towards the development of a comprehensive framework for the design of composite structures at the component, subassembly, assembly, and system levels. Such a framework requires accurate, efficient and easy-to-use mathematical and computational models that are in sync with physical reality. The research work in this paper is designed to help an aerospace structural engineer move towards this goal by simulating dynamic impact to composite panels. First, the existing orthotropic visco-elastic visco-plastic material model in LS-DYNA commercial finite element program, MAT_COMPOSITE_TABULATED_PLASTICITY_DAMAGE (MAT_213) is enhanced with the development and use of rate-dependent damage data. Using state-of-the-art experimental procedures, impact validation test data are created. Second, the versatility of the constitutive model is examined by its ability to simulate a low velocity (27 ft/s, 8 m/s) impact test, and two high velocity impact tests (385–417 ft/s, 117–127 m/s) that straddle the ballistic limit of the projectile and the composite panels. Third, these impact events are modeled using three different finite element types – under-integrated and fully-integrated solid elements, and fully-integrated thin shell elements. Insight into accuracy versus numerical efficiency is gained by comparing the performance of solid versus thin shell elements. The numerical results show that accurate predictions of these impact events can be obtained with reasonable effort and care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110320
JournalComposites Part B: Engineering
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Aerospace structures
  • Finite element analysis
  • Impact loads
  • Mechanical testing
  • Plastic deformation
  • Polymer-matrix composite

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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