Finite element methods combined with cohesive elements were used to simulate progressive failure behaviour in a bonded double cantilever beam configuration. The introduced cohesive zone was represented by three cases. Responses of both global load-displacement and local cohesive traction-separation were investigated. An unexpected finding was that the overall cohesive traction stiffness was much less than the assumed input value. In addition, the local nodal separation moment was identified. Consequently, correct cohesive zone lengths were obtained using the extracted traction profile along the cohesive zone path at this moment. Information of the global load-displacement profile, traction stiffness, and cohesive zone length induced by the three zone cases was explored. Moreover, the study can explain why very small cohesive zone lengths are generated numerically, as compared to theoretical solutions. Recommendations on the application of the numerical model with cohesive elements to practical experimental analysis were suggested.
Composites Part B: Engineering69 (February 2015): 359–368.