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This research was funded by the Ministerial Research Project No. DEC-2016/21/B/ST8/03160, financed by
the Polish National Science Centre. The third author acknowledges the “Laboratório Associado de Energia,
Transportes e Aeronáutica” (LAETA) for the financial support by the project UID/EMS/50022/2013.
This paper presents an experimental evaluation of influence of the elastic couplingson the fracture toughness as well as on delamination initiation and propagation in carbon/epoxycomposite laminates. For this purpose the mode I double cantilever beam (DCB) tests accordingto the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) D5528 Standard were performed onspecimens with different delamination interfaces and specific lay-ups composition exhibiting thebending-twisting (BT) and the bending-extension (BE) couplings. The critical strain energy releaserates (mode I c-SERR,GIC) were calculated by using the classical methods, namely: the modified beamtheory (MBT), the compliance calibration (CCM) and the modified compliance calibration (MCC).In order to evaluate an accuracy of the different methods, the values of c-SERR obtained by usingstandardized data reduction schemes were compared with values calculated by using the compliancebased beam method (CBBM).All themethods give rise to comparable values of theGIC, which makesthe CBBM an appealing choice, since it does not depend on crack length monitoring during the test.Initiation andpropagation of delamination were investigated by using the acoustic emission (AE)technique. Moreover,the scanningelectron microscope (SEM) analysis were performed after theexperimental tests in order to investigate a fracture surface at delamination plane.