Hide Table of Contents

Composite Failure Criteria

Laminate Failure

To determine whether a laminate will fail due to applied loading, the program first calculates stresses across the different plies. It next applies a failure criterion based on these stress levels using a failure theory. A laminate is considered to fail when a first ply or a first group of plies fails.

Failure of composites occurs in multiple steps. When stress in the first ply or a first group of plies is high enough, it fails. This point of failure is the first ply failure (FPF) beyond which a laminate can still carry the load. For a safe design, laminates should not experience stress high enough to cause FPF. The point where the total failure occurs is termed the ultimate laminate failure (ULF). Failure of composites occurs on a micromechanical scale due to fiber damage, matrix cracking, or interface or interphase failure. These local failure modes cannot predict global laminate failure satisfactorily.

Composite failure theories predict global laminate failure. These failure theories can be interactive, non-interactive or partially interactive. The non-interactive theories do not consider the interaction between different stress components, whereas the interactive theories do.

The three theories available for laminate failure criteria are:

See here for Guidelines for Selecting a Failure Criterion.

Related Topic

Composite Shells

Provide feedback on this topic

SOLIDWORKS welcomes your feedback concerning the presentation, accuracy, and thoroughness of the documentation. Use the form below to send your comments and suggestions about this topic directly to our documentation team. The documentation team cannot answer technical support questions. Click here for information about technical support.

* Required

Subject:   Feedback on Help Topics
Page:   Composite Failure Criteria
*   I acknowledge I have read and I hereby accept the privacy policy under which my Personal Data will be used by Dassault Systèmes

Print Topic

Select the scope of content to print:


We have detected you are using a browser version older than Internet Explorer 7. For optimized display, we suggest upgrading your browser to Internet Explorer 7 or newer.

 Never show this message again

Web Help Content Version: SOLIDWORKS 2012 SP05

To disable Web help from within SOLIDWORKS and use local help instead, click Help > Use SOLIDWORKS Web Help.

To report problems encountered with the Web help interface and search, contact your local support representative. To provide feedback on individual help topics, use the “Feedback on this topic” link on the individual topic page.