Azzi-Tsai-Hill Failure Criterion Limits & Benefits

Azzi-Tsai-Hill failure criterion in Abaqus FEA

Azzi-Tsai-Hill Failure Criterion For Laminated Composites

The Azzi-Tsai-Hill failure criterion is a mathematical equation that is used to predict the failure of a material under stress. It is commonly used in engineering applications to determine the safety of a FRP composite structure or component.

The Azzi-Tsai-Hill failure criterion is an extension of the Tsai-Hill criterion for laminated composites. The key differences are:

  1. It accounts for the variation of properties through the thickness of the laminate. Properties can be defined for each ply or group of plies.
  2. It allows for different material properties in the longitudinal, transverse, and through-thickness directions of each ply.
  3. It considers the influence of shear stresses acting in planes other than the principal material axes. This better represents the multi-axial stress state in laminates.
  4. It includes interaction terms between normal stresses and transverse shear stresses. These interaction terms can be significant for some laminate configurations.

The Azzi-Tsai-Hill failure criterion is the same as the Tsai-Hill failure criterion, except that the absolute value of the cross-product term is taken as follows:

Azzi Tsai Hill failure criterion for FRP composite materials

The Azzi-Tsai-Hill failure criterion has the following benefits and limitations:

Azzi-Tsai-Hill failure criterion benefits

  • It can account for anisotropy in the material properties, which is important for composite laminates that have fibers oriented in different directions.
  • It can consider both tensile and compressive strengths in different directions, which are often different for composites.
  • It can predict failure under complex loading conditions involving combinations of stresses.
  • It has been shown to provide fairly accurate failure predictions for many types of composite laminates.

Azzi-Tsai-Hill failure criterion limits

  • It is a phenomenological model that relies on experimentally determined failure parameters. It does not describe failure at a microscopic level.
  • The failure parameters are determined from coupon-level tests, which may not represent actual structures where stresses are more complex.
  • It assumes a linear failure envelope, which may not be accurate for some composites that exhibit nonlinear failure behavior.
  • It does not account for factors like stress concentrations, fiber misalignments, or material defects that can influence actual failure loads.
  • The failure parameters can vary with load levels, temperature, and environmental effects, which the model does not consider.

Azzi-Tsai-Hill criteria in Abaqus

This criterion can be accessed in Abaqus software through the following path.


Property module: material editor: MechanicalarrowElasticityarrowElasticSuboptionsarrowFail Stress

This criterion is used for the state of plane stress.

So in summary, the Azzi-Tsai-Hill criteria provides a useful macroscopic model for predicting failure of composite laminates based on anisotropic strength properties, but it has limitations stemming from its empirical nature and simplifying assumptions.


About Mohamad Khorashad

Experienced FEA analyst with a demonstrated history of working in the mechanical engineering industry. Skilled in FMEA, Pressure Vessels, ABAQUS, LS-DYNA, Engineering, and Fluid-Structure Interaction.

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