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Recommendations for designers and researchers resulting from the world-wide failure exercise

The World-Wide Failure Exercise (WWFE) contained a detailed assessment of 19 theoretical approaches for predicting the deformation and failure response of polymer composite laminates when subjected to complex states of stress. The leading five theories are explored in greater detail to demonstrate their strengths and weaknesses in predicting various types of structural failure. Recommendations are then derived, as to how the theories can be best utilised to provide safe and economic predictions in a wide range of engineering design applications. Further guidance is provided for designers on the level of confidence and bounds of applicability of the current theories. The need for careful interpretation of initial failure predictions is emphasised, as is the need to allow for multiple sources of non-linearity (including progressive damage) where accuracy is sought for certain classes of large deformation and final failure strength predictions. Aspects requiring further experimental and theoretical investigation are identified. Direction is also provided to the research community by highlighting specific, tightly focused, experimental and theoretical studies that, if carried out in the very near future, would pay great dividends from the designer’s perspective, by increasing their confidence in the theoretical foundations.

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