A composite damage model based on continuum damage mechanics (CDMs) is proposed for the progressive damage analysis of a composite structure. The damage progressive law that considers the Weibull distribution of the composite strength was employed in the damage model. The nonlinear shear behavior of the composites was also considered. Also, a simple model that considers the irreversible strain due to the damage was proposed. The damage model was implemented in the user material subroutine of the ABAQUS/explicit program, VUMAT. Low velocity impact tests of the graphite/epoxy composite plates were also performed in a range of impact energies. The impact energies were classified into three levels based on the impact damage and impact behavior. The impact analyses of the composite plate were performed using the ABAQUS/explicit program with the developed composite damage model. The impact response and impact damage from the numerical analyses were comparable with those of test results. (c) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.