When using Finite Element Analysis (FEA) to model notched composite panels, the values of certain material properties can have a great effect on the outcome of the simulation. Progressive damage modeling is used to model how a composite structure will fail, and how that failure will affect the response of the structure. Many different progressive damage models exist, but the formulation known as Hashin damage is used to model failure in tension and out-of-plane bending in this study. This model has ten different material properties that are used to define the damage response of the material. Each of these material properties must be calculated experimentally in a time consuming and expensive process. A method of determining which properties will have the greatest effect on the model, and therefore, which to spend the most money on accurate tests, is a factorial analysis sensitivity study. Studies of this nature have been used in many different situations regarding material properties testing and optimization.
The work presented in this study uses several factorial analysis designs to perform a sensitivity study on the ten Hashin damage parameters in a variety of situations. Five different ply layups are used in modeling specimens that are loaded in tension and out-of-plane bending. The results of this study show that the significant factors depend on the ply layup and loading scenario, but there are generally less than three factors that play a significant role in modeling the failure of the panels. This means that in most cases, rather than spending substantial money on finding ten different material properties, the time and money can be focused on a small subset of the properties, and an accurate model can still be achieved. While the results of the scenarios presented may not apply to all scenarios, the methods presented can be used to perform a similar study in other specific scenarios to find the significant factors for that case.