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Tips & Tricks: Composite Failure Criteria in ABAQUS

Composite Failure Criteria in ABAQUS 3D Hashin VUMAT USDFLD Larc05 Tsai fortran

In this short article, I will try to give you some very useful solutions for composite failure criteria in Abaqus which is the result of more than 10 years of work with Abaqus and failure analysis of composite materials. Try to make the right choice according to your needs.

The main question is,


is it possible to use the 3D Hashin criteria for solid FRP composite laminates using solid elements?
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The short answer to this question is NO, But the good news is that with the help of subroutines in Abaqus, it is possible to write any composite failure criteria in ABAQUS; unfortunately, it is not that simple. To write a good subroutine, you need to know the basics of mechanical engineering, finite elements, and Fortran, then know how to link Abaqus and Fortran, which is usually very challenging for beginners. But these days, YouTube is full of tutorials.

The next step is to write the subroutine, debug it, and perform verification and validation (v&v). Now like when I started, you only knew the basics of mechanical engineering and you had passed the finite element course and you had to do all these things, I think that from now until at least 6 months from now you will be writing a composite failure criteria subroutine. But when you validate it is really an amazing moment.

Now let’s look at the failure criteria that can be used for FRP composite materials in Abaqus.

Composite Failure Criteria in ABAQUS

Composite Failure Criteria in ABAQUS

In Abaqus, there are a number of failure criteria or damage models for FRP composite materials, each with its own limitations. Some of their important points are summarized below:

Built-in Material Models

Hashin Failure Criteria

The Hashin failure criteria in Abaqus, which can be used in both the 1973 and 1980 versions, is only responsible for plane stress elements such as shell, continuum shell, membrane, etc. This is because of Hashin’s criteria adjustment with the lamina elastic behavior. The advantage of this criterion is the possibility of damage evolution. Another advantage is the detection and display of damage modes such as fiber breakage and matrix cracking in the direction of tension and pressure. But the disadvantage is that it can not be used for solid elements such as C3D8R. Sometimes there are situations where we have to use solid elements. When modeling delamination behavior; this should be done using adhesive elements (Cohesive Elements).

LaRC05 Failure Criteria

LaRC05 can be used only in a standard solver. It is possible to use LaRC05 criteria without the need for writing subroutines in Abaqus. LaRC05 is written in UVARM & UDMGINI subroutines. here you can find a nice tutorial.


Tsai-Hill & Tsai-Wu Criteria

Tsai-Hill and Tsai-Wu criteria are not applicable to solid elements and do not support damage evolution.

Writing Fortran User Subroutines

You have to write user subroutines like USDFLD, VUSDFLD, UMAT, or VUMAT to apply failure criteria such as Hashin and Puck with 3D elements. In the following thesis, there is a sample of the VUMAT subroutine with the 3D Hashin standard that you can use and it has been developed by Simulia.

Pederson, Joy, “Finite Element Analysis of Carbon Fiber Composite Ripping Using ABAQUS” (2008)

Also, BanuMusa R&D engineers have developed a multi-purpose code with a VUMAT subroutine, which has all the required specifications such as 3D Hashin criterion, progressive failure, exponential softening behavior, and high analysis speed all in one. You can get it from the link below.

3D Hashin VUMAT Subroutine for Abaqus with Exponential Damage Evolution


Composite Failure Criteria in ABAQUS by Autodesk Helius PFA 

Another way is to use the Autodesk Helius PFA plug-in, which has a library of failure criteria for composite materials. A very important feature of Helius PFA is the ability to simulate and analyze the progressive fatigue of composite materials. 

Advanced Failure Analysis of Composite Materials with Abaqus and Autodesk Helius PFA: A Comprehensive Guide

* For the last two cases, it is necessary to link Abaqus and Intel Fortran.

Now you can choose one of the above options depending on the task you are doing.

Please write your questions and experiences about this article in comments.


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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