Mathematical Problems in Engineering
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 659849, 19 pages
Research Article

Wave Propagation Analysis in Composite Laminates Containing a Delamination Using a Three-Dimensional Spectral Element Method

State Key Laboratory of Mechanical System and Vibration, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, China

Received 30 December 2011; Revised 13 February 2012; Accepted 23 February 2012

Academic Editor: Zhongqing Su

Copyright © 2012 Fucai Li et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A three-dimensional spectral element method (SEM) was developed for analysis of Lamb wave propagation in composite laminates containing a delamination. SEM is more efficient in simulating wave propagation in structures than conventional finite element method (FEM) because of its unique diagonal form of the mass matrix. Three types of composite laminates, namely, unidirectional-ply laminates, cross-ply laminates, and angle-ply laminates are modeled using three-dimensional spectral finite elements. Wave propagation characteristics in intact composite laminates are investigated, and the effectiveness of the method is validated by comparison of the simulation results with analytical solutions based on transfer matrix method. Different Lamb wave mode interactions with delamination are evaluated, and it is demonstrated that symmetric Lamb wave mode may be insensitive to delamination at certain interfaces of laminates while the antisymmetric mode is more suited for identification of delamination in composite structures.