An integrated processing-damage model was developed to predict the inter-lamina strength of a plain weave composite flange manufactured using the Resin Transfer Molding (RTM) technique. The plain weave composite flange was subjected to four-point bending test to characterize its inter-lamina strength. A Representative Volume Element (RVE) at the fiber–matrix level was established to study the effect of curing-induced residual stress on the resulting composite strength. In order to calculate the residual stress, the curing cycle of the experiment was imposed on the RVE. After fully cured, the RVE was virtually loaded and the cohesive element and Smeared Crack Approach (SCA) were employed to capture the fiber-matrix debonding and matrix cracking responses, respectively. Due to the nature of stress history dependency, the SCA was formulated in the incremental form to reflect the stress buildup. The result shows that both fiber-matrix debonding and matrix cracking can be captured during the virtual loading. However, the load drop in the simulation mainly depends the matrix cracking. As the stress buildup in the matrix is dramatic, it demonstrates that the residual stress has large impact on the composite inter-lamina strength. The numerical methods in this paper can be used as an efficient tool in optimizing the curing process of composite material.

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