An integrally stiffened graphite/epoxy composite rotorcraft structure is evaluated via computational simulation. A computer code that scales up constituent micromechanics level material properties to the structure level and accounts for all possible failure modes is used for the simulation of composite degradation under loading. Damage initiation, growth, accumulation, and propagation to fracture are included in the simulation. Design implications with regard to defect and damage tolerance of integrally stiffened composite structures are examined. A procedure is outlined regarding the use of this type of information for setting quality acceptance criteria, design allowables, damage tolerance, and retirement-for-cause criteria.

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