The effect of through-thickness compressive stress on mode II interlaminar fracture toughness is investigated experimentally and replicated numerically. The modified Transverse Crack Tensile specimen recently proposed by the authors is used, together with an experimental device designed to apply a constant transverse compressive stress on the surface of the specimen. Experiments are conducted using IM7/8552 specimens for different compressive stresses, ranging from 0 to 100 MPa, covering all the practical applications commonly encountered in the aeronautical industry (e.g., tightened filled holes or bolted joints). It is shown that mode II interlaminar fracture toughness increases with the applied compressive through-thickness stress. Finally, experiments are replicated using appropriate numerical models based on cohesive elements that take into account frictional effects. A good agreement between numerical predictions and experiments is found.
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