The delamination growth in composite panels is usually simulated with non linear analysis, but in this context, an alternative methodology which uses only linear analysis is proposed. Such an approach will allow a relevant reduction in the computational cost associated to damage tolerance analyses especially in the preliminary stages of the design process of complex composite structures. The proposed linear approach is compared here to the classical nonlinear methodologies implemented in commercial FEM software and experimental results, and the most important parameters are investigated. A test case, consisting in a stiffened composite panel with an embedded bay delamination, has been considered. The delamination growth initiation threshold will provide indications on the damage tolerance capability of the panel in the presence of low velocity impact induced delaminations.
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