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International Journal of Impact Engineering 49 (2012) 77e90

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International Journal of Impact Engineering

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Impact resistance of ber-metal laminates: A review

M. Sadighi a, *, R.C. Alderliesten b, R. Benedictus b

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Amirkabir University of Technology, P.O. Box 15875-4413, Tehran, Iran
Structures and Materials Laboratory, Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, Delft University of Technology, P.O. Box 5058, 2600 GB Delft, The Netherlands

a r t i c l e i n f o

a b s t r a c t

Article history:
Received 20 April 2011
Received in revised form
18 May 2012
Accepted 21 May 2012
Available online 1 June 2012

Combining the suitable properties of metals and ber reinforced composites, as the idea behind the
application of new types of materials, called ber metal laminates (FMLs), have lead to superior impact
properties as well as considerable improvement in fatigue performance. The characteristics of FMLs
under impact loading and the ways to improve their properties to withstand this type of loading could be
of particular importance in aerospace structures and other applications. This paper reviews relevant
literature which deals with experimental evidence of material related and event related impact
resistance parameters as well as the articles related to theoretical and numerical simulation of impact
loading of FMLs. Relevant results will be discussed and the recommendations that need to be resolved in
the future will be addressed.
2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Fiber metal laminates
Low/high velocity

1. Introduction
During the last decades the application of composite materials
in various structures has become increasingly popular. Especially
in aerospace structures, composites are preferred above conventional materials because of their advantages high specic strength/
stiffness and good fatigue resistance. Needs for improving material
properties resulted in hybrid materials built up from thin metal
sheets and ber-reinforced adhesives. Fiber-Metal Laminates
(FMLs) are composed of alternatively stacked metal and berreinforced composite layers (see Fig. 1), such that the superior
fatigue and fracture characteristics associated with berreinforced composite materials may be combined with the
plastic behaviour and durability offered by many metals [1]. The
development of the family of highly fatigue resistant FMLs, Arall
and Glare started in the 80s at the Delft University of Technology
[2e16]. These laminates consist of thin high- strength aluminium
alloy sheets (typically 0.3e0.5 mm thick) bonded together with
alternating unidirectional composite prepregs. The prepregs are
aramid or glass bers in an epoxy resin. Some major advantages
of FMLs are: high specic strength, better damage tolerance to
fatigue crack growth, re resistance, blunt notch strength,
formability, repairability, etc [5].

* Corresponding author. Tel.: 98 21 64543448; fax: 98 21 66419736.

E-mail address: (M. Sadighi).
0734-743X/$ e see front matter 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

For example, high fatigue resistance is achieved by ber

bridging of fatigue cracks [5,17,18]. If a crack has initiated in the
aluminium alloy layers, some limited delamination will occur at the
interfaces between the metal and the bers. That will accommodate stress re-distribution from the metal to unbroken bers in the
wake of crack. Crack bridging provided by the strong ber restrains
crack opening, and thus reduces the driving force for crack growth
in the metal layers [17].
Nowadays, Glare is produced in six different standard grades.
These grades are all based on various lay-ups of ber epoxy prepreg
layers composed of unidirectional S2 -glass ber embedded in
a FM94 adhesive. An individual prepreg layer with unidirectional
bers has a nominal ber volume fraction of 0.59. It is possible to
stack prepreg layers with different ber orientations in between
two aluminium layers, resulting in different standard Glare grades
[1]. The Glare grades are listed in Table 1.
Impact damage is an important type of failure in aircraft structures. Among different types of damages in an aircraft such as
fatigue, corrosion and accidental (impact) damage, and associated
repairs, it is reported at least 13% of 688 repairs to 71 Boeing 747
fuselages were related to impact damage [19]. As Vlot [20] reported
impact damage is usually located around the doors, on the nose of
the aircraft, in the cargo compartments and at the tail (due to tail
scrape over the runway).
Impact damage of aircraft is caused by sources such as: runway
debris (in order of 60 m/s), hail (on the ground 25e60 m/s and in
ight in the order of hundreds of meter per second), maintenance


M. Sadighi et al. / International Journal of Impact Engineering 49 (2012) 77e90

solved in the future are also addressed. While review articles and
even books on impact properties in conventional composites have
been published [23e25], the authors concluded that a detailed
review article on impact response of FMLs has not yet been published and that such an article should be of signicant value to the
FMLs research community and industry.
2. Experimental studies on impact response of FMLs
Fig. 1. A typical Fiber Metal Laminate [1].

damage or dropped tool (less than 10 m/s), collisions between

service cars or cargo and the structure (the velocity is low), bird
strike (high velocities), ice from propellers striking the fuselage,
engine debris, tire shrapnel from tread separation and tire
rupture and ballistic impact (for military aircraft) [20]. However,
different impact regimes are possible in aircrafts which should be
considered during the design process for reasons of safety. It is also
important for economical reasons, because the damage has to be
detected and repaired during maintenance. In the present paper,
low-velocity is regarded to the impacts caused by dropped tool
(less than 10 m/s) and high-velocity is related to the impacts by
devices such as gas gun.
Although the initial attention to Glare was on improvement of
fatigue properties of aircraft components, recently the use of Glare
has been expanded because of its improved impact properties
relative to monolithic aluminium of the same areal density [21].
Similar advantages of considerable impact resistance of Glare have
been reported by Hoo Fat [21] for high-velocity impact, such that
for an epoxy-based Glare a 15% increase in the ballistic limit was
observed compared to bare 2024 aluminium with the same areal
density. This improvement is expected to be more for thermoplastic
based FMLs at high-velocity impact [22].
In spite of mentioned advantages of FMLs, their impact properties still need more understanding and attention. Although many
articles have been published regarding to impact resistance of
FMLs, the research on this part of FMLs performance is still in the
early stages. There are several issues to be addressed related to the
modeling and experimental investigation of this topic.
The purpose of this paper is to review relevant literature related
to impact properties of FMLs in theoretical and experimental
studies. During this review, the key technical issues that need to be

Table 1
Glare Grades [5].


Prepreg layersa

Metal layers








The number of orientations in this column is equal to the number of unidirectional prepreg layers in each composite layer. The thickness corresponds to the total
thickness of a ber-epoxy layer in between two aluminum layers.
The (axial) rolling direction is dened as 0 , the transverse rolling direction is
dened as 90 .
High Strength (HS) GLARE has similar standard ber lay-ups as in GLARE2 to
GLARE5, but contains aluminum 7475-T761 and FM906 epoxy (instead of aluminum
2024-T3 and FM94 epoxy).

The articles that report the experimental studies on impact

loading of FMLs are summarized in Table 2.
2.1. General observations
2.1.1. Loadedeection & loadetime curves
Typical static forceedeection curves for monolithic aluminium
alloy, composites and FML are shown in Fig. 2 [20]. These curves
were obtained by static loading with a hemispherical steel indentor
with a tip radius of 7.5 mm on a square 100 mm  100 mm clamped
test area. The thicknesses for aluminium 2024-T3 and Arall 2H33
sheets were 1.35 mm whereas for aramid/PEI composite sheet was
1.7 mm. The different behavior of these materials is clear from Fig. 2
eMonolithic aluminium plate has a rising forceedeection
curve until failure (Fig. 2-a). Until the rst failure the specimen only shows plastic deformation. The rst failure occurs at
maximum or ultimate load that can be sustained by the specimen. After fracture the force drops rapidly, a hole will be
created and the indenter is pushed through the plate.
eComposite laminates show matrix failure and delamination
before the rst ber failure (the rst load drop) see Fig. 2-c. This
ber fractures starts at the rear side of specimen and progresses
inwards. Meanwhile the force rises again until the ultimate load
is reached.
eFMLs (Arall) have a force-deection similar to that of the
composites (Fig. 2-b). However, FMLs exhibit either ber or
aluminium dominated failure behavior. For the FML with ber
dominated failure, the rst failure occurs at ultimate load as for
monolithic aluminium. Before the rst load drop in the
forceedeection curve a region of the prepreg layer around the
center of the specimen shows some micro-cracking, small
cracks in the adhesive. At rst failure (the rst load drop) the
ber and/or outer aluminium layer will fail. Always when the
failure is ber dominated a crack is also found in the outer
aluminium layer opposite the loaded side [26]. When an
aluminium critical failure occurs a crack will run in the rolling
direction irrespective of the ber direction. If the bers underneath this layer also run in the rolling direction, they remain
intact. After the rst failure the force rises until the ultimate load
is reached. At this point the indenter starts to perforate the
Typical force-time histories for Arall and Glare are depicted in
Figs. 3 and 4, respectively. They were obtained by low-velocity
impact of a 575 gr hemispherical steel indentor with a tip radius of
7.5 mm on the square specimens with a size of 100 mm  100 mm
which are clamped between two plates with a circular opening with
a diameter 80 mm. The impact energies for Arall and Glare laminates
were chosen 1.4 J and 4 J, respectively [20,27].
During the initial time of contact period a typical behavior may
be observed [27]. A relatively high contact force is excited on the
plate at initial contact, which causes acceleration of the plate from
its rest. In this portion of the plates deection, the stiffness is low
and it is pushed forward at a rapidly uctuating force, the force

M. Sadighi et al. / International Journal of Impact Engineering 49 (2012) 77e90


Table 2
Summary of experimental works on the impact resistance of FMLs.

Materials Tested

Type of Matrice

Type of Fibers

Type of Metals

Loading Rate

The Main Studied Parameters


Arall1 Arall2






Glare 4 Glare 5






Glare 2,3
Glare1,2 Arall3


Gl, Ke

Al3, Al4
Al5, Al2



Glare1,2,3 Arall 3
Glare1,3,5 Arall2,1
Arall1,2 Glare2,3 Care
Arall2 Glare3
Glare3, Glare5
Glare, Arall


Gl, Ke
Gl, Ke
Gl, Ke
Gl, Ke
Gl Ke
Gl, Ke
Gl, Ke
Gl, Ke




FML (sandwich)
FML Glare

Thp Ths


Al6, Al2
Al6 Al2

HV (Ballistic)



Ths Thp

Nylon 66LFT
Gr Gl
Gr Gl

Mg Al
Al2 Mg


Type of Al, loading rate, residual

fatigue strength
Load deection curves
Load deection curves
Ply conguration, post impact
fatigue behavior
Post impact fatigue
Test xture and ply conguration
Impactor geometry, Ply conguration
Glare on a substrate
Fiber, metal, number of layers effects
and conguration
As above
Fiber, Metal, pretension, ply conguration
Fiber, Metal, conguration effects
As above & pre-tension
Scaling effects
Scaling Effects (ply congurations)
Fiber, metal and conguration impact
Fiber, metal, conguration, pre-tension
Post-impact fatigue behaviour
Target thickness and diameter, impactor
radius effects
Matrices and impactor nose effects
Perforation & ballistic limit
Perforation resistance
Ballistic limit
Local and uniformly distributed
blast loading,
type of matrices
Blast Response
Blast Response
Localized blast response
Uniformly distributed blast
Local blast, conguration
Quantitative analysis of above test results
Perforation energy
Type of matrices, conguration
Trends and failure mode
Strength degradation
Damage quantication
Specic perforation energy
Temperature effects
Perforation resistance, energy absorption
Stacking sequence, Geometrical effects
Specimen thickness, Impactor mass
Metal type, Thickness effect

Al2, Al4


The abbreviation used are: Ths: thermoset, Thp: thermoplastic, Ke: Kevlar, Gl: glass, Gr: graphite, PP: polypropylene, Al1:Al7075-T6, Al2:Al2024-T3, Al3:Al7085-T7651,
Al4:Al7475-T761, Al5:Al7475-T6, Al6:Al2024-0, Mg: magnesium, Ti: titanium, QS: quasi-static, LV: low-velocity, HV: high-velocity.

drops and the contact between impactor and plate is ceased for
a short while. Duration of this time corresponds with the period of
the higher order vibration of the plate which can be observed at the
loading phase of the measured curves. At larger deections the
membrane reaction of the sheet will become important and
consequently the stiffness increases. The loading part of Aralls
forceetime curve shows uctuations caused by the vibration of the
specimen and the damage inside. After the maximum force, the
higher order vibration is absent. Therefore, for FMLs with ber
dominated failure behavior, like Arall, at low impact energies,
plastic deformation occurs and the aramid layers show some signs
of matrix cracking and splitting. This can be seen as uctuations on
the loading part of curve (Fig. 3).
For FMLs with aluminium dominated failure behavior, like Glare,
rst cracking in the outer aluminium layer at the non-impacted
side in the rolling direction is indicated by a sharp load drop.
After that, the discrete load drops indicate the delamination and
failure of the other layers. The deformation completes with the

occurrence of full penetration [20,28,29]. Glare exhibits more

delamination than Arall since the bers remain intact until high
impact energies.
2.1.2. Impact damage criteria
In the present review, different impact damage criteria are used
to describe and compare the various parameters affected the
impact behavior of FMLs:
i) Maximum permanent deection (the maximum dent)
ii) Energy restitution coefcient (for rebounded projectile, the
ratio of the kinetic energy of impactor after and before
iii) Minimum cracking energy (the minimum impactor kinetic
energy required to cause ber failure or cracking of the outer
aluminium layers)
iv) Damage width (the diameter of the smallest circle around the
damage area)


M. Sadighi et al. / International Journal of Impact Engineering 49 (2012) 77e90

Fig. 4. A typical contact force-time history for Glare under an impact with 4.0 J energy

Fig. 2. Typical static loadedeections curves, a: Aluminium plate, b: Arall laminate, C:

Composite laminate [20].

2.2. Material related parameters

2.2.1. Type of bers
The most common bers applied in the layups of FMLs are
aramid and glass. Relatively little attention has been allocated in
the literature to the carbon. Fig. 5 shows typical quasi-static
forceedeection curves for the Arall, Glare, Caral and aluminium
2024-T3 at the center of specimens [27]. Up to the rst failure the
differences between three FMLs are small. First of all, Caral and
after that Arall will fail due to ber failure. After them Glare will fail
due to aluminium failure, while bers remain intact. At the last,
monolithic aluminium fails. As it was discussed, FMLs are divided

Fig. 3. Contact force-time history for Arall specimen under an impact with1.47 J
energy [27].

into two groups in terms of their failures, ber dominated and

aluminium dominated failures. Arall and Caral are both ber
dominated, whereas Glare is ber or aluminium critical
depending on the behavior of glass ber and the lay-up [20].
In general, glass-epoxy prepregs in Glare are stronger and more
ductile whereas aramid epoxy in Arall has a lower density, higher
modulus longitudinally but lower transversely [28].As the type of
prepreg used in the FML is one of the important factor in the impact
response, therefore Glare has higher impact tolerance than Arall
[28]. At relatively low impact energy, only small cracks occurred at
the non-impacted side of Glare while similar Arall suffered
a considerable local indentation [28].
In terms of impact damage criteria, it is reported that Caral has
a signicantly lower energy until the rst failure than Arall, followed by Glare [30]. However, the type of bers in FMLs until the
rst failure has a small inuence on the maximum central deection, but it has more inuence on the permanent deection after
impact. Caral has the highest permanent deection followed by
Glare and Arall. Glare has smaller damage width than Caral and
Arall, which depends on their pronounced type of failures.
The strain rate dependency of glass is another specic property
for Glare in comparison with other types of ber [27]. Fig. 6 shows
typical strain rateetime curves for Glare at different strain rates.
This property inuences the higher energy absorption of Glare at
impact loads with higher velocities.
2.2.2. Types of metals
Two types of aluminium alloys 2024-T3 and 7075-T6 (or 7475T6) are the main variations used as the metal constituents of

Fig. 5. Infulence of ber type on quasi-static load-deection (2c 32: Caral, 2H32: Arall,
2R32: Glare) [27].

M. Sadighi et al. / International Journal of Impact Engineering 49 (2012) 77e90


Titanium has been proposed in the literature [36e39] as another

alternative for the metal constituents in FMLs. In spite of suitable
fatigue performance of titanium based FMLs [40] and improvement
in the static strength compare to Glare [41], the low ductility of the
high-strength Ti-alloy caused relatively poor impact properties for
the FML [42]. Although, the better performance in high velocity
impact of Ti based FML compared to the corresponding carbon
ber-reinforced poly-ether-ether-ketone (CF/PEEK) and glass berreinforced poly-ether-imide (GF/PEI) composites is an advantage,
but low specic perforation and rst crack energies following the
low velocity impact shows that this type of alloy is not suitable as
alternative for better impact resistance of FMLs.

Fig. 6. Strain rateetime for Glare specimens [20].

FMLs. Recently, other types of metals have been considered which

will be discussed later in this section.
7000 grades of aluminium alloys are stronger and more brittle
whereas the 2024 type is more ductile and slightly stiffer. Therefore, smaller area under the stressestrain curve of Al 7075-T6
compared to Al 2024-T, results in the considerable lower energy
until failure for Al 7075-T6 (about 1/3) [31,32]. This property affects
the Glare performance, such that Glare1, with 7475-T6 alloy,
absorbs the energy with a fracture mode whereas more energy
attenuated through local plastic deformation in Glare2 with more
ductile Al 2024-T3. A smaller damage zone can be observed
through impact response of 2024-T3 based Glare2 specimens than
in Glare3 with 7475-T6 alloy [31].
Smaller deection, earlier initiation of cracks and lower
delamination of Glare1 due to the high stiffness and strength of
7475-T6 aluminium alloy have been reported [31]. It can be
concluded that for Glare the application of 7000 grades of
aluminium alloys might lead to a less favorable damage resistance
than with Al 2024-T3.
Arall with 7075-T6 has the same sensitivity for cracking as 2024T3 based Arall, because the failure is dominated by the bers.
However, the rst type has a slightly smaller permanent central
deection and larger crack length visible at the outside in the metal
layer than that in the later type (2024-T3).
A number of advantages of magnesium alloy over some other
alloys, such as low density, improved electromagnetic shielding
capability and superior corrosion resistance has been reported by
Cortes and Cantwell [33,34]. These have triggered the application of
this type of alloy in the construction of FMLs. Alderliesten et al. [35]
investigated the advantages and disadvantages in mechanical
properties of this type of FMLs to determine whether this alloy is
applicable in FMLs for aircraft structures. Unfortunately, there are
not sufcient data to compare the impact behavior of magnesium
alloy with aluminium alloys in FMLs. The only available data [34]
reported that Mg based FMLs perform signicantly better than
glass-epoxy/aluminium FML and offers a higher specic perforation energy than the comparable aluminium FML with a thermoplastic resin. The impact tests on magnesium based FML performed
at TUDelft however has not conrmed the above conclusion rmly.
In this research, Sadighi et al. [95] showed that substitution of
aluminium by magnesium, in spite of some apparent advantages
like similar perforation energy or lower dent depth, due to
considerable damage area and lower specic properties (normalized by weight of the laminate) will not yield improvements.

2.2.3. Type of matrices

The rst FMLs for aerospace applications were based on
composites with thermosetting polymer matrices, which have
higher stiffness and strength and temperature performance
compared to other polymer matrices. The weaknesses of these type
of matrices, such as brittleness, relatively long processing cycle
required to ensure complete curing and providing optimized
bonding across the composite/metal interface, increased the
attention to the other type of polymer matrices, i.e. thermoplastic
resins [20,43e46]. Thermoplastic materials offer improved toughness because of somewhat higher energy at rst failure and ultimate energy than that of thermoset. Their manufacturing can be
more rapid and maybe low-cost [45].
A small set of tests was carried out on low-velocity impact
response of thermoplastic (polyetherimide (PEI)) ARALL by Vlot
[20]. He reported that higher curing temperature (240  C) causes
some loss of ductility for the Al 2024-T3 material and higher
internal stresses compared with thermosetting ARALL. Both
mentioned effects are negative for the energy absorption capability
of the aluminium layers. The mode of failure changes from ber
failure to aluminium failure during impact. Also, the maximum and
permanent central deections were not changed by PEI matrix.
However, the impact energy at the rst failure was somewhat
higher but closed to the thermosetting variant and the crack length
of the thermoplastic variant of ARALL was larger than in the thermosetting ARALL [20]. There is not any detailed work to compare
the low-velocity impact behaviour of both FML types: thermoset
and thermoplastic. The majority of studies on thermoplastic-glass
reinforced FMLs are on high-velocity impact [22,47,48]. Surprisingly, in these types of papers, the main disadvantages of FMLs with
thermoplastic matrices, i.e. the high internal stress and lower
ductility of aluminium layer, have not quoted clearly. However,
during the high velocity impact researches, it is reported that the
specic energy for impact energy dened as through- cracking or
puncture of polypropylene(PP) reinforced glass FMLs is about 25%
higher than similar Glare 3/2 laminate (with 0/90 ber composite
conguration) [22]. In the same study it is reported that PP based
FMLs show an increase in the ballistic limit of 50% when compared
to monolithic aluminium alloy which is 35% more than GLARE5
reported by Hoo Fatt [21].
In addition to the fact that the superior performance under
a high velocity impact is due to the strain-rate effect which is
characteristic of the transverse compression of the polypropylene
based inserts, in the authors view, this performance in energy
absorption observed in the high velocity impact on thermoplastic
based FMLs comparing to the thermoset ones may be the result of
the fact reported in the literature [22] that at high velocity impacts,
the bond between the interlayer and thermoplastic composite and
aluminium layers is weak, as well. There is a considerable buckling
of debonded aluminium layer along the interface which may
release some amount of tensile residual stress inside of aluminium
layer induced during high temperature curing, allowing it to absorb


M. Sadighi et al. / International Journal of Impact Engineering 49 (2012) 77e90

more energy; a phenomenon which was not observed in the low

energy impact [43].
It may be concluded that relatively higher and better performance of thermoplastic based FMLs should be limited to some
specic impact properties and the recommendation for replacing
the traditional thermoset with thermoplastic one could not justied with the current available data.
2.2.4. Lay-up conguration
In terms of two types of failure of FMLs, i.e. ber or
aluminium critical, Arall and Caral, due to their low strain to
failure (2%), irrespective of their lay ups always shows a ber critical
behavior, whereas Glare due to its higher strain to failure (5%), may
have both types of failure depending on the lay up of the material
It is difcult to compare relevant published results about the
effect of the different lay-ups due to different thicknesses and test
conditions, but it is tried to extract some obvious facts from the
literature. A comparison was performed between impact resistance
of Glare2 and Glare3 by Liu and Liaw [31] to show the effect of
unidirectional ber orientation of Glare2 and the cross ply glass
epoxy prepregs in the Glare3. It has been shown that Glare3 offers
superior impact resistance than that in similar thickness of Glare2
due to the use of cross- ply conguration, having bers in both
directions. As a fact, in a composite laminate delamination will
occur between the adjacent plies with different ber orientation
[25], so for cross- ply conguration it is expected to have more
energy dissipation through the delamination process within
composite plies.
The higher impact resistance of Glare3 comparing to Glare2 was
observed since lower crack length and permanent deection
occurred for similar impact energy levels. Energy may be absorbed
through delamination between the bottom aluminium sheet and
the lower glass-epoxy ply and within the glass-epoxy, as well as
crack initiation and propagation at the non-impacted side.
Vlot and Krull [50] concluded that for similar specic impact
energy levels, Glare3 has lower maximum displacement and
maximum dent than Glare5. Minimum cracking energy for Glare3
and Glare5 are almost the same in static indentation but these
energies are higher for Glare5 during impact tests where the
differences in higher velocities are more signicant. Also, the
damage width of Glare5 with increasing the relative glass/epoxy
prepregs of the laminate is smaller than Glare3/2.
There is an interesting comparison between Glare3 and a special
Glare3I1 [2024/0/90/0/90/0/90/0/2024] with the same areal density
[27]. Experiments showed superiority of Glare3I in impact response
by representing higher energy needed to create a through-crack,
lower permanent deection and lower damage width than Glare3.
The quasi-isotropic prepreg conguration [0/45/-45/90] for
FMLs has better impact damage tolerance than cross ply prepregs
[0/90/90/0] and than UD conguration 04 , which performs the
worst, in terms of impact load and crack formation [51]. A
comparison between Glare3-2/1, Glare 4-2/1 and Glare 5-2/1 for
their responses to low-velocity impact has been reported by Laliberte et al. [52,53].
As it was expectable, the Glare lay up signicantly inuenced
the damage geometry. In Glare 4, which the majority of bers are
laid up in the 0 direction, a single crack oriented parallel to the
major ber direction is produced and its length increases with
increasing the impact energy while in Glare 3-2/1 and Glare 5-2/1
multiple cracks occurred in both direction of 0 and 90 and their

Glare3I (improved) is nowadays referred to as the Glare3 laminate with additional glass ber layers underneath the fuselage frames.

lengths will remain constant during the impact. However, Glare 5

with more layers of glass-epoxy composite and hence lower areal
density comparing to bare aluminium sheet, has a greater impact
energy absorption capacity.
The same pronounced damage modes were observed for Glare
4-3/2 and Glare 5-2/1 by Wu et al. [54] where a spherical-shaped
permanent dent was produced at the non-impacted surface of
Glare 5-2/1 while an elliptical conguration with the major axis
along the 0 ber orientation was seen at the back side around the
point of impact for Glare 4-3/2.
Low-velocity impact on 2/1, 3/2 and 4/3 FMLs based thermoplastic matrices [47] showed that failure characteristics of 2/1 and
3/2 laminates are similar, although higher permanent deformation
is allocated to 2/1, whereas 4/3 laminate exhibited a damage zone
with a conical shape. However, 4/3 laminate showed lower
reduction in tensile strength at the highest energy in the reported
experimental results.
Recently, Seyed Yaghobi et al. [93] studied stacking and
geometrical effects on low-velocity impact behaviors of Glare5 (3/
2) FMLs. They showed that Glare5 made of unidirectional bers has
the least impact resistance: followed by cross-ply and angle-ply
congurations, while the quasi-isotropic lay-up shows the best in
resistance to impact (Fig. 7).
2.2.5. Metal/composite volume fraction
During quasi-static loading the stiffness, maximum force and
the perforation resistance increase with the thickness of composite
between metal sheets of FML, whereas the specic perforation
remains almost constant [55]. The thicker composite core causes
spring-back after impact moving the top surface upwards. Due to
strain rate sensitivity, the pronounced trend of increasing of the
perforation resistance becomes signicantly higher during impact
tests. It should be noted that the difference between specic
perforation energies of FML and plain composites decreases when
the thickness of composite core in FMLs increases [55]. However,
the increase of composite core thickness, which results in raising
the laminate thickness, causes reduction of panel density.
Abdolah & Cantwell [47] concluded that replacing a 6.5 mm
composite core between two layers of aluminium 2024-T3 results
in three times greater perforation energy than that of a system of

Fig. 7. Cross-sectional view of the Glare 5 (3/2) square specimens with various
stacking sequences under 40-J impact energy [93].

M. Sadighi et al. / International Journal of Impact Engineering 49 (2012) 77e90

those aluminium layers bonded together without reinforced

Increasing the number of composite plies inside the Glare
laminates causes smaller damage width, higher specic rst
cracking energy in the low-velocity impact and further in high
velocity impact [50,56].
For a given thickness of an FML, laminates with thicker
aluminium plies offer a superior impact resistance to those based
on thin plies. However, it has been shown [47] that after a threshold
laminate thickness, the normalized perforation energy (perforation
energy/Al thickness) begins to fall. It is due to the change in failure
mode (thinning to shear) which needs lower perforation energy. It
should be noted that the behavior of aluminium will be more
dominant in the thinner laminates. Therefore, in the case of using
low modulus composite ply, aluminium layers behave in a quasiindependent manner which in this case the absorbing energy by
thin Al layers becomes more dominant [47].
Recently, Sadighi et al. [95] who examined metal thickness
effects on the impact resistance of FMLs appreciated that increasing
the aluminium thickness improves the impact performance of FMLs
but as it increases the weight, it should be considered where
a weight penalty is acceptable.
2.2.6. Total thickness
The maximum permanent deection is strongly dependent on
the thickness of the sheet. For monolithic aluminium and Arall it
was found that the energy restitution coefcient is not much
dependent on the thickness. This means that the same amount of
energy will be stored but that a thicker plate will have a smaller
permanent deection [20]. As it is expected, the maximum force,
the initial slope of loadedisplacement curves and the perforation
resistance increase for GLARE with increasing the plate thickness,
whereas the specic perforation energy is roughly constant over
the range of thickness considered [32].
The thinner aluminium sheets have a higher specic cracking
energy level which is due to the more efcient membrane deformation in the thinner sheets compared with the bending behavior
of the thicker materials [50].
Liaw and Liu [15] who examined the thickness effect by
increasing the number of layers in Glare 5 panels with total thickness varying from 0.04400 to 0.17200 , concluded that the minimum
cracking energy (required to caused cracking on the bottom face)
increases in a parabolically relation as the thickness of panel
increases [50].
Inuences of thickness on the low-velocity impact of Glare5
FMLs were examined experimentally by Seyed Yaghobi et al. [94].
They reported that failure modes change by increasing the panel
thickness. Two types of behavior, ber critical and aluminium
critical were observed depending on the thickness of the laminate.
For Glare 5 (2/1) after debonding, aluminium failure occurred,
whereas for Glare 5(3/2), the major failure type was debonding in
the non-impacted side followed by ber breakage and splitting and
aluminium layers fracture. When panel thickness increases, i.e. for
Glare 5(5/4) and (6/5), delamination occurred near the impacted
side at relatively lower impact energies. For higher impact energies,
more damage including failure in the bottom layers as well as ber
breakage or splitting in the composite lamina were induced on the
non-impacted side [94].
2.2.7. Post-stretching
The only article related to post-stretching of FMLs and its effect
on the impact behavior is published by Vlot [20]. Depending on
post-stretch strain applied, post-stretching causes an initial tensile
stress in the bers and therefore causes lower energy absorption
and reduction of the rst failure energy. ARALL specimens were


tested at different percentages of post-stretching. It was found that

post-strength percentage did not inuence on the maximum
central deection, the maximum force during impact and the crack
length after rst failure due to impact; but the perforation energy
decreases with increasing post-stretch percentage.
2.3. Event related parameters
2.3.1. Specimen geometry/scaling effects
Increasing the size of the target results in decreasing the initial
slope of the loadedisplacement curve and reducing the maximum
impact load. Also, perforation energy increases due to the reduced
exural stiffness in the larger diameter panels and increasing of
elastic and plastic energy dissipation [55].
A limited examination of the effect of xture geometry on
impact damage formation was done by Laliberte et al. [52] through
testing with two types of xtures, one square panel (Nasa test
xture) and another xture with circular opening (without similarity in the sizes of two panels). As it is expected the square panel
shows major corner deformations, while symmetry of circular
opening in the second specimen caused no corner deformations.
There are two studies published in the literature concerning
scaling effects in low velocity impact behavior of FMLs [57,58]. In
the rst paper [57], the similitude analysis was applied and the
parameters divided to input similitude parameters include characteristic length, density, mass, velocity and the material constants
with scaling factors: l; 1; l ; 1; 1; respectively, and the second type
parameters as response parameters include the load, response
time, strain, stress, deection and strain rate with scaling
factors:l ; l; 1; 1; l; l ; respectively, where l is a geometrical factor
(dened as the ratio of characteristic length in the model to corresponding value in the full-scale model). Four values of scaling
factor, l were investigated (1/4,1/2,3/4 and 1). During investigation
of low-velocity impact response of FMLs and their corresponding
forceedeection curves and damage threshold energies, it is
concluded that the impact response of FMLs obeys the scaling law.
However, due to time-dependency of composite materials,it is well
known that the strain-rate cannot be scaled by a simple law and the
same applies to problems involving damage. Therefore, these
simple scaling laws cannot be applied with respect to the above
The second paper [58] which is focused on scaling of lowvelocity response of FMLs have dealt with the conguration of
the laminate through two approaches, one called ply-level
scaling, where the thickness of each ply is scaled Aln ; 0=90n s ,
and in other approach named sublaminate-level scaling, a simple
sublaminate was repeated Al; 0=90ns . Experiments elucidated
that low-velocity impact phenomena of FMLs obeys almost
a simple scaling law.
2.3.2. Geometry of impactor
According to the observations reported in [47,49], severe
damage around the impact site was induced by small indenters
during drop-weight impact on Glare2 and 3 and energy dissipated
through local damage (fracture, delamination and plastic dent).
Whereas indenters with diameter beyond 25.4 mm caused no
considerable local damage and more energy was absorbed through
global deformation.
In general, maximum impact force, maximum deection and
perforation energy of the FML increase signicantly with increasing
projectile diameter [47].
For a line-like indenter, regardless of the relative angle between
the indenter and bers, two through-the-thickness cracks started
at the two tips of indenter and propagated along the direction of
ber in Glare2. However, the force-time histories for 0 ber show


M. Sadighi et al. / International Journal of Impact Engineering 49 (2012) 77e90

a sharp decrease of the load due to ber fracture, whereas for 45
and 90 bers, no difference has been recorded [49].
Two impactor geometries, i.e. hemispherical and at were
applied by Compston and Cantwell [22] for high-velocity impact on
polypropylene based FMLs. Both energy at the perforation
threshold and the specic perforation energy for the at nose
impactor are higher than for the hemispherical impactor. It should
be noted that, the mode of failure for the perforation of aluminium
sheet by hemispherical is associated with high plastic deformation
and tensile crack on the back side, whereas a disc-shaped plug out
caused by shear failure is visible after perforation with less plastic
deformation by at projectile resulted in lower perforation energy.
However, for FML specimens, the at nose projectile produces
larger fracture areas which cause more energy for perforation.
2.3.3. Loading rate
The effects of loading rate on the specic materials and event
parameters have been discussed in the corresponding sections.
i) Indentation versus impact loading
In general quasi-static loadedeection curves describe the lowvelocity impact behavior quite well. However, a signicant difference for central deection may occur between static indentation
and low-velocity impact. In terms of rst failure energy, Glare
needs more energy to produce rst ber failure during low-velocity
impact than under static conditions, but Arall requires less impact
energy to cause rst ber cracking than the similar static loading
situation [20].
ii) Low-velocity versus high-velocity impact
There is a limited amount of high-velocity impact investigations
reported on thermoset based FMLs [19,21,27,50,56,59] and thermoplastic based FMLs [22,42,47,48] compared to amount of articles
that concern low-velocity impact. They present considerable
results; some of them are as follows:
eDuring high-velocity impact, rst at lower impact energies,
the failure in the FML starts with a top surface dent and
a localized crack parallel to the rolling direction at the back
surface aluminium layer. By increasing the impact energy, the
length of the rear surface crack and the size of top surface dent
increase up to the stage of perforation threshold which usually
results in a clean hole and a limited petalling at the rear surface
of the FML. A thinning process around the point of impact occurs
due to membrane stretching and yielding in the aluminium
plies during impact.
eDuring low-velocity impact, transverse shear waves reach and
reect off the boundary of the laminate before perforation takes
place, whereas, if the effect of stress wave propagating throughthickness is neglected, two-dimensional transverse shear waves
propagate laterally until they are changed to bending and/or
membrane in high-velocity impact [21]. This fact has a great role
on the panel response to the impact. More localization and
limited global deformation of the panel are expected during
high-velocity impacts.
eThe proportions of the energy dissipating through a highvelocity impact on Glare have been estimated by Hoo Fat et al.
with their analytical model [21]. According to their results, the
deformation energy due to bending and membrane account for
84e92 % of the total absorbed energy, having in mind that
thinner panels absorb a higher percentage of deformation
than thicker panels. 2%e9% of the total energy absorbed is due
to the delamination energy with the fact that the thinner

panels absorb a lower percentage of delamination energy than

the thicker panels. The tensile fracture portion of energy
dissipation is about 7%. These ndings emphasize the use of
thinner panels that would allow energy absorption in the
membrane stretching.
eAn important observation during low- and high-velocity
impact on FMLs relates to the event of debonding between
lower aluminium ply and the adjacent composite ply, which
may happen during high-velocity impact. This is believed to be
responsible for higher energy absorption and further perforation resistance of FMLs during high-velocity impact. The bond
between the prepregs and aluminium layer is a point of weakness during high velocity impact whereas at low velocity impact
the composite-metal adhesion remains impressive under the
loading. This phenomena can be elucidated in this way that
interfacial toughness increases with strain rate rst, and then
decreases at higher rates [60], therefore at higher impact
velocities the tendency of debonding between aluminium and
composite layers is signicant and the released aluminium layer
can dissipate more energy through membrane deformation.
This free deformation results in superior impact performance of
FML comparing to its counterparts. Also, with this event, the
composite layers with higher toughness matrices (thermoplastic) may contribute better in energy dissipation of the FML
(as discussed in Section 2.2.3).
iii) Blast loading
A set of articles is related to blast loading response of FMLs
[44,60e65]. Most of these studies are summarized by Langdon et al.
[60]. The panels were loaded locally or uniformly distributed and
the results have been reported for thin and thick laminates, where
thick panels contained proportionally more composite layers.
Localized loading results in membrane deformation due to relatively high proportion of aluminium layers within the laminate as
well as dominated shaped damage in the thinner panel. The thicker
panel undergoes back face debonding, both in terms of overall back
face displacement and debonded area without much membrane
action [60]. Also, there was observed a cruciform debonding shape
at the backside of the thickest panel which happened due to
transient behavior of composite or the stress distribution inside the
woven ber used in the composite plies in their specimens. A
limited investigation was done by Lagdon et al. [66] to explore the
response of Glare 3 under blast load. A large hole was observed in
the Glare 3 center panel, with debonding, ber fracture and petalling failure around the hole perimeter (Fig. 8). A similar behavior
as monolithic metal plates has been observed where large plastic
deformation and yield line formation were evident for uniformly
distributed loading (Fig. 9). A non-desirable feature, pulling-in of
the panel edges took place, because usually it is favorable that the
impulse produces tearing in the panel to dissipate more energy,
whereas this phenomenon may delay the onset of tearing at the
clamped boundary [66].
2.3.4. Place of impact
An experimental observation [55] shows that the variation of
impact locations from the center to the corner or along the edges
does not have any signicant effect on the perforation energy of the
FML. However, this is not enough to judge the details of the
mentioned parameters effects on the impact behavior of the FMLs.
2.3.5. Pre-tension
In spite of different sources of impact damage in a structure under
initial loading, the literature on impact on pre-loaded specimens is
relatively scarce. Literature on the impact testing of a loaded FML

M. Sadighi et al. / International Journal of Impact Engineering 49 (2012) 77e90


Fig. 8. Photographs of a locally blast-loaded Glare 3 panel (4g PE4, 13 mm SOD) [66].

could not be found except for Vlots work [19,67]. He investigated the
aluminium alloys (2024-T3 and 7075-T6) and the corresponding
Arall3/2 specimens containing these alloys while the tensile stresses
applied to the specimens before impact varied between 0 and
350 MPa. In general he observed that the maximum central deections and the contact time decrease with increasing pre-load;
whereas maximum impact force increases during elastic impact
tests (lower energy). For higher impact energies (plastic impact
tests), the inuence of pre-tension on the force-time and
forceedisplacement curves of the Arall is higher than for aluminium.
With increasing the pre-stress, cracking takes place sooner and
a signicant rise in the crack length occurs at high pre-stresses. A
change in the shape of damage will be happened, cracks in the
specimens without pre-stress extend in ber direction, a lip is
formed in the material and then a hole is created in the laminate,
whereas, for the pre-stressed panel, the crack grows in the direction perpendicular to the bers and loading, during that the stress
concentration does not relieve with a negative inuence on the
residual strength [67].
3. Simulation of impact performance of FMLs
A systematic and step by step approach to the simulation of
impact behavior of the structures is to start from quasi-static
indentation followed by low-velocity impact and nally with

increasing the strain rate of loading, high-velocity impact should be

3.1. Quasi-static indentation
There are a few articles in the literature concerned with lateral
indentation of FMLs. Vlot [27] presented an analysis to model
maximum central deection of the laminate based on the simplied Von Karman equations which are used in the studies of Shivakumar et al. [68], Haskel [69] and Calder and Goldsmith [70].
These equations are developed for composite square and metallic
circular isotropic plates, respectively. Vlot took into account the
higher order non-linear terms related with stretching for large
deformations. An appropriate shape function is assumed to satisfy
boundary conditions and the elasto-plastic energy of a volume
element from the area under a bilinear stressestrain curve is
determined. After calculating the strain energy by integration of
elements energy, the effective strain is determined with the
simplied Von Karman equations with the known shape of the
dent, at a certain value of the central deection. The corresponding
contact force is determined by differentiating the energy with
respect to the central deection.
In a similar approach, Hoo Fatt et al., in their work on ballistic
impact of Glare [21], investigated the load-deection response of
Glare under static loading. They also used simplied Von Karman

Fig. 9. Photographs of uniformly blast-loaded GLARE 3 panels (stand off distance D 200 mm) [66].


M. Sadighi et al. / International Journal of Impact Engineering 49 (2012) 77e90

equations, assuming that deections are large, strains are nite, inplane deformations can be ignored, and that the strain energy can
be written in terms of transverse deections only. The main
difference with the explained previous work is related to the
assumption for the aluminium layer behavior, which is assumed to
be as rigid linear strain hardening instead of bilinear manner. They
incorporated a failure analysis in their model due to debonding
between the aluminium and glass/epoxy layers and delamination
within the glass/epoxy, by re-calculation of the bending and
membrane stiffness matrices for the panel. However, as the
membrane stretching resistance is much greater than bending
resistance and since debonding does not alter the membrane
stiffness of the panel, debonding has not a considerable effect on
the loadeindentation curve.
Damage initiation is modeled in a unidirectional FML under
concentrated loading conditions by Nam et al. [71]. They used nite
element model based on the rst order shear deformation theory
for modeling damage in UD FML.
Recently, Tsamasphyros and Bikakis in a couple of articles
[72,73], investigated the response of thin circular fully clamped
Glare plates loaded by a lateral hemispherical indentor located at
the center of the plate. They developed an analytical model for the
calculation of static loadeindentation curve and rst failure due to
composite tensile fracture applicable to circular plates. The material
behavior of aluminium was assumed as rigid perfectly plastic and
glass-epoxy as linear elastic. The Ritz method was employed in
their studies in association with appropriate approximation functions to satisfy the boundary conditions. The three- parameter Ritz
approximation that takes into account bending and membrane
stiffness of the plate has been shown to converge sufciently.
3.2. Low-velocity impact
A few studies have dealt with low-velocity impact modeling of
FMLs. Vlot [19,20] proposed two linear and non-linear elastic and
one non-linear elasto-plastic impact models for low-velocity
impact loading of FMLs.
First, he assumed a simple mass-spring system to model the
impact of mass mp with an impact velocity V0 to a clamped circular
specimen with a constant stiffness C and an equivalent massmeq . It
is assumed that contact between the impactor and the plate is
maintained during impact and the stiffness of plate is supposed to
be independent of the deection, i.e. it is constant. The strain
energy for pure bending can be written by assuming a prole for
bending of the plate. The equivalent mass of the plate can be
calculated by the kinetic energy relation, which for a circular plate
is about 0:13 mplate [20].
The solutions for plate deection, velocity, impact force and
contact time, can be obtained by solving the governing equation of
system easily. The comparison of the mean values of the measured
contact force was to correspond with the value calculated with this
simple mass model.
Subsequently, Vlot [20] assumed the contact between projectile
and plate by using the Hertzian contact law. The same approach
was applied by Sun et al. [74]. The plate was considered by two
springs in series: a non linear one with the Hertzian contact stiffness and a linear one with the bending stiffness of the plate.
Writing the total strain energy, kinetic energy and gravitational
energy of the plate and the impactor and using the conservation of
energy, conclude to:

Tplate Timpactor Uplate Eimpactor Eplate 1=2mp V02

where, Tplate , Timpactor , Uplate , Eimpactor , Eplate , mp and V0 are kinetic
energy of the plate/impactor, internal energy of the plate, the

change of the gravitational energy of the impactor/plate, impactor

mass and initial velocity, respectively. The energy equation can be
solved by using the equations of motion of Lagrange in terms of two
generalized coordinates (S andw0 ) which can be obtained by
implementation of nite deference approach. A sensitivity analysis
was performed to investigate the effect of contact stiffness. In
general, the contact stiffness is largely relative to the stiffness of the
plate and may dominate the force-time curve. However, the real
indentation stiffness of FMLs and its relation to the elastic Hertzian
contact law is a matter which should be attributed in future
Vlot extended this model to a full non-linear elastic model for
impact on a simply supported or clamped rectangular plate, using
simplied Von Karman equations; Hertz contact law and Newmark
numerical integration.
The third model of Vlot is an elasto-plastic model for impact
on a circular plate. The elasto-plastic material was assumed to
have a bilinear stressestrain curve, which was described by the
elastic Youngs modulus E, the yield stress sy and the strain
hardeninga. The shape of the dent was assumed to be known and
constant for the specimen under loading. The total strain energy
in the elasto-plastic layers (aluminium layer) can be obtained by
integration of the strain energy of a volume element, which is the
area under the stressestrain curve. Also, the strain energy of
ber/matrix layer, which is only due to bers, was calculated and
nally the corresponding contact force was determined by
differentiating of the strain energy respect to central deection.
The results from the third model are in agreement with Shivakumar et al.s model [68].
Simple second-order polynomials were assumed by Caprino
et al. [75] to represent the experimental loading and unloading
curves (forceedisplacement) of a laminate. Through this simple
method, which neglects local indentation, damage initiation and
development, the global response of structure can be predicted.
However, the main limit of this approach is the needs to have initial
experimental results for each case of layups. In a similar attempt,
Abatan and Hu [76] developed a linear elastic model for lowvelocity impact to investigate the inuence of cross-sectional
material distribution on the comparative impact responses of
FMLs. It was reported that, the relative position of component
materials does have an effect on impact resistance. Also, for equal
weights, the number of layers in a laminate does not have
a signicant effect on impact resistance, but its relative material
ratio does. However, the main limit of this type of approach is the
neglect of plastic behavior of metal layers, which has an important
role on the FML behavior.
Payeganeh et al. [77] developed a theoretical model to investigate low-velocity impact similar to the models developed for
traditional composite laminates, by assuming metal layer similar to
other composite layers. However, this article, like the one by Abatan
and Hu, is limited to elastic behavior for layers.
3.3. High-velocity impact
The only analytical work found in the literature concerning
high-velocity impact resistance of FMLs is by the hand of Hoo Fatt
et al. [21] of which the rst part has been explained in Section 3.1 of
the present paper. The equations of motion have been written and
modied with the following consideration: the inertia and stiffness
were expressed as time varying functions by using the results from
static indentation and setting the span of the panel equal to the
distance traveled by the shear wave propagating delamination and
fracture. Finally, the relevant equations for the energy required for
delamination, debonding, tensile fracture of glass/epoxy and petalling of aluminium were developed. Also, the ballistic response of

M. Sadighi et al. / International Journal of Impact Engineering 49 (2012) 77e90


Glare has been investigated in two phases, one before the glass/
epoxy breaks and another after breaking of glass/epoxy.
4. Finite element modeling
In spite of considerable efforts to develop efcient numerical
models for predicting impact damage in the composite laminates
[78e80], there are a few articles in the literature [81e87] that
report numerical modeling impact resistance of FMLs. Indeed, the
difculties associated with the phenomena of plasticity, crack
growth, delamination and perforation caused by impact loading
and the nature of loading rate, the modeling of FMLs is a bothersome work. The nite element should involve the continuum of
FMLs combined with interface elements where cracking and
delamination are located. It also should be capable of analyzing the
material models for anisotropic plasticity, crack and delamination
growth with suitable failure criteria and still it is imperative to
arrive at numerically stable and accurate algorithms [87].
Two well written studies [87,88], describe generally the
modeling and simulation of FMLs which are considered good
introductions to this type of analysis. Other articles modeled low
velocity impact problems on FMLs using the commercial nite
element codes ABAQUS [82e84] or LS-Dyna [81]. Laliberte et al. [81],
developed a user dened material subroutine in LS-Dyna for FMLs to
investigate damage mechanisms in Glare. Using tiebreak interfaces
to simulate delamination as well as selecting a type of hybrid solid
brick and thin shell elements called as thick-shells, resulted in
predicting absorbed energy, peak impact force and permanent dent
of the Glare laminates. Among the three types of interface models:
tied interface (with elasticeplastic aluminium, elastic prepregs),
simple-tie break (with the same mentioned behavior as previous)
and tiebreak (with elasticeplastic aluminium and damageable
prepregs), the last one was reported to provide better predictions.
However, through this modeling, it was shown that the formation of
interlaminar damage has a greater effect on the impact behavior of
Glare than the formation of delamination damage.
Recently, Seo et al. [83] used the commercial nite element code
ABAQUS to model Glare laminates subjected to different impact
energies. Hexahedral solid elements were used for aluminium
layers and depending on the nature of failure criteria and the
applicability of plane-stress assumption, the hexahedral solid or
shell elements were applied for the composite layers. The main
scope of their work is to introduce a three-dimensional progressive
damage model for composite materials and comparing the results
obtained by this model, the two-dimensional model built in ABAQUS and the case of no failure model. For two types of incident
energies, i.e. energy to create barely visible impact damage (BVID)
and the energy to create clear visible impact damage (CVID), it was
shown that both two and three dimensional failure models showed
good agreement with the experimental results, having in mind that
the three-dimensional model predicts the impact force and
permanent displacement more reasonable.
Low-velocity impact loading on FMLs was modeled by Fan et al.
[96] using ABAQUS/explicit. Cross-sections of the perforated FMLs
were predicted and compared with experimental data.
Song et al. [82] used ABAQUS to predict drop weight impact
response of CARAL as well.
Sadighi et al. [95] used ABAQUS to study low-velocity impact of
Glare 5/3 laminates. They concluded that for low velocity impact,
the shape of elements is more important than the type of failure
criteria. Using continuum shell elements for composite layers
cannot predict reliable results. Applying solid elements for both
types of layers within FMLs, leads to good predictions of impact
response compared to experimental results, even if incorrect failure
criterion is assumed for composite constituent of FMLs (see Fig. 10).

Fig. 10. Comparison of FE-predictions for two element types with the experimental
data as reference for 30-J impact energy on Glare 5 (3/2) panels [95].

A published work [85] on the high-velocity impact (bird impact)

on the Glare laminate using the commercial nite element code
PAM/CRASH/SHOCK, shows that the dependency of Glare on strain
rate due to the main contribution of strain-rate dependent of the
glass layers, is an important factor which inuenced the highvelocity impact response of Glare. Implementation of a continuum
damage mechanism in the PAM/CRASH/SHOCK provides the capability of prediction of the high strain effect of the Glare.
In application of ABAQUS for the FMLs under blast loading [86],
four tasks are dened to be followed: i) load denition of the
impulse produced by the blast loading ii) associated strain-rate
effects in the FML (common as in high velocity impact) iii)
modeling of debonding failure and iv) the mesh sensitivity analysis.
It has been shown that ABAQUS is capable of accurate modeling of
the blast loaded FMLs, however, the damage inside composite
layers of FML cannot be modeled properly using two dimensional
damage models built in ABAQUS.
5. Conclusions
In the past 20 years, numerous experiments have demonstrated
that FMLs show superior impact properties relative to bare
aluminium sheets of the same areal densities. Accordingly, this
paper summarizes signicant results on measurement and simulation of the impact resistance of FMLs as discussed by inuences of
material and event related parameters. The effects of some
parameters on the impact properties of FMLs are well known;
whereas there are still some uncertainties on the exact roles of
other parameters.
eIn terms of ber types, Glare has proven its signicant
improvement in the impact resistance over Arall and Carall, as
lower permanent deection, smaller damage width and higher
energy absorption are recorded for various types of Glare.
eAluminium alloy 2024-T3 can be the best candidate among
other types of alloys due to its ductility and stiffness. However,


M. Sadighi et al. / International Journal of Impact Engineering 49 (2012) 77e90

other metal alloys, such as magnesium and titanium, in spite of

some of their advantages, have not shown considerable benets
in impact resistance compared to aluminium alloys.
eThe literature highlighted some positive properties for thermoplastic matrices, such as improved toughness, more rapid
manufacturing and repairability, but the two limits for their
applications in FMLs, namely causing loss of ductility for
aluminium and residual stresses due to considerable higher
curing temperatures still may prevent to justify their applications in FMLs. However, it seems a full comparative study is
essential on the impact behavior of FMLs based on thermoset
and thermoplastic matrices.
eGlare 3 and Glare 5 have suitable layups to withstand impact
energy and damage compared to Glare 1 and 2, but the inuence
of layups such as quasi-isotropic and other orientations needs
more attention. Higher number of composite plies within the
FML is recommended since more interfaces results in better
energy absorption by the laminate.
eThe lower thickness of aluminium layer inside an FML with
low modulus composite ply has a signicant effect in absorbing
energy due to failure mode change from shear to thinning
during impact. Although thicker laminates have higher cracking
energy and impact load, the trends and limits of this effect
change with the types of FMLs and kinds of increasing the
thickness (i.e. by aluminium layer or by composite layers). In
spite of all studies done, different potentials to change the
arrangement and conguration of constituents within FMLs and
their inuences on the impact behavior, urge to have more
studies on them both theoretically and experimentally.
ePost-stretching has a negative effect on the impact behavior of
Arall specimens.
eThe low-velocity impact on FMLs obeys simple scaling law,
such similitude analysis for input and response parameters or
ply conguration of the laminates follow the appropriate ratio of
scaling factor, with some cautious about strain-rate effect.
eLocalization caused by small diameter impactor will change
with more global deformation, when the laminate impacted by
larger impactor, resulting in more energy absorption. However,
unlike for aluminium sheet, perforation by at nosed projectile
causes more energy absorption than hemispherical nosed. The
same differences may take place for other standard nose shapes,
which should be highlighted during future studies.
eThe initial phase of deformation and failure in the FML at highvelocity impact is similar to low-velocity impact, but with
higher degree of damage, more localization of deformation and
further energy absorption. These outcomes may not be the total
and nal words about high-velocity impact associated with
inertia and wave propagation effects.
eLower maximum central deection and contact time and
higher impact load as well as tendency to taking place of crack
sooner and rising in the crack length are results of pre-tension of
eTheoretical modeling of quasi-static indentation and impact
resistance of FMLs have been reported within a few publications. The main approaches are the same as isotropic plate and
laminates theories, with assuming different behavior for
constituents of FMLs in some works. Also, numerical modeling,
using commercial nite element codes, has been performed
with reasonable results.

6. Recommendations for future works

Considerable attempts to elucidate impact properties of FMLs,
have answered many relevant questions, but to achieve a full and

detailed understanding of the problem, there is a long way; some of

steps are listed below:
eThere are a limited number of articles concerning theoretical
modeling of impact response of FMLs. When the amount of
work associated with the testing, data recording and analysis
and post impact non destructive or destructive inspections are
considered, the advantages of developing theoretical models to
predict response of FMLs to impact loading will be cleared.
Numerous potentials to change parameters related to the
material and conguration of FMLs, make the experimental
investigations so difcult and costly, such a modeling would be
more valuable and highly cost effective in design and analysis of
FMLs components and structures.
eSome parameters such as number of layers and different layup
and congurations need more attention to investigate their
effects on the impact response and damage initiation and
propagation. A type of damage map in terms of input parameters and the energy to rst crack or crack length would be
benecial to the designers and industry.
eA full and step by step comparative study is recommended to
clarify all aspects of impact behavior of FMLs based on thermoset and thermoplastic matrices.
eIn a short and limited statement [51], it has been quoted that
temperature effect is not signicant in impact damages of FMLs.
Although, the potential locations for applying FMLs in aerospace
structures do not sense a considerable temperature gradient,
but it is recommended to include impact properties of FMLs
under thermal circumstances, at least as an academic interest.
eIt seems the future application of FMLs mainly depends on the
development of new metal alloys, bers and their combinations
within laminates [89]. Some discrepancies between static and
impact results, especially in terms of ductility and brittleness of
the alternative metals, urges to inspect impact properties of
proposed candidates within FMLs independently.
eDifferent geometries of the specimen, boundary conditions
and various positions of impact point as well as effect of
multiple impacts (as happen in reality) are recommended to be
considered in the future research in this eld.
eVarious applications of FMLs presented through relevant
patents, overviewed by Alderliesten [90], should be considered
as the structural point of view of FMLs, which would be required
to check their impact properties and damage tolerance.
eFinally, there are opportunities for application of FMLs as skins
of sandwich panels (rather than monolithic metals or berreinforced composites). The research in this area is recommended as the application of sandwich structures in commercial aviation, which is currently restricted to secondary
structures, has a potential to introduce in primary structures
[91]. Parallel studies considering FMLs bonded to a high strength
substrate may help this idea [92].

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