Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Aerospace Engineering

First Advisor

Vinay Dayal


Past research has conclusively shown that long fiber structural composites possess superior specific energy absorption characteristics as compared to steel and aluminum structures. However, destructive physical testing of composites is very costly and time consuming. As a result, numerical solutions are desirable as an alternative to experimental testing. Up until this point, very little numerical work has been successful in predicting the energy absorption of composite crush structures. This research investigates the ability to use commercially available numerical modeling tools to approximate the energy absorption capability of long-fiber composite crush tubes. This study is significant because it provides a preliminary analysis of the suitability of LS-DYNA to numerically characterize the crushing behavior of a dynamic axial impact crushing event;Composite crushing theory suggests that there are several crushing mechanisms occurring during a composite crush event. This research evaluates the capability and suitability of employing, LS-DYNA, to simulate the dynamic crush event of an E-glass/epoxy cylindrical tube. The model employed is the composite "progressive failure model", a much more limited failure model when compared to the experimental failure events which naturally occur. This numerical model employs (1) matrix cracking, (2) compression, and (3) fiber breakage failure modes only. The motivation for the work comes from the need to reduce the significant cost associated with experimental trials. This research chronicles some preliminary efforts to better understand the mechanics essential in pursuit of this goal. The immediate goal is to begin to provide deeper understanding of a composite crush event and ultimately create a viable alternative to destructive testing of composite crush tubes.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Leon Pickett, Jr.



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

127 pages