Partition of mixed-mode fractures in 2D elastic orthotropic laminated beams under general loading

An analytical method for partitioning mixed-mode fractures on rigid interfaces in orthotropic laminated double cantilever beams (DCBs) under through-thickness shear forces, in addition to bending moments and axial forces, is developed by extending recent work by the authors (Harvey et al., 2014). First, two pure through-thickness-shear-force modes (one pure mode I and one pure mode II) are discovered by extending the authors’ mixed-mode partition theory for Timoshenko beams. Partition of mixed-mode fractures under pure through-thickness shear forces is then achieved by using these two pure modes in conjunction with two thickness ratio-dependent correction factors: (1) a shear correction factor, and (2) a pure-mode-II energy release rate (ERR) correction factor. Both correction factors closely follow an elegant normal distribution around a symmetric DCB geometry. The principle of orthogonality between all pure mode I and all pure mode II fracture modes is then used to complete the mixed-mode fracture partition theory for a general loading condition, including bending moments, axial forces, and through-thickness shear forces. Excellent agreement is observed between the present analytical partition theory and numerical results from finite element method (FEM) simulations.