Virtual Design of 3D Woven Composites – Joint Research Between Industry and Academia

This paper was produced for the 2019 NAFEMS World Congress in Quebec Canada

Resource Abstract

Breakthrough Aerospace Materials (BAM) is a collaborative R&D project based in the UK [1]. It is led by industry and co-funded by Innovate-UK via its Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) R&T Programme. The overall objective is to develop a complete process that will enable aerospace industry (and others) to design and manufacture complex shaped components using 3D woven composites. A consortium consisting of 12 partners, involving 9 from industry and 3 from academia, was set up to achieve this goal over a total period of three years. The paper will report on the developments to date since March 2016 - highlighting in particular the interdependence of the two groups and the success in combining forces between academia and industry for pushing such technology up the TRL scale.

3D woven composites offer a great solution for the two major drawbacks of composites structures in general (i.e. low through-thickness strength and high cost of production). It offers the ability to introduce through-thickness reinforcement and to produce near net shaped preforms directly from the loom - significantly reducing part count and layup time. On the other hand, it is still yet to be widely adopted by industry. It has been agreed that one of the major reasons behind this is the lack of industrial simulation tools that can be used effectively by design and analysis engineers. The paper will elaborate on the developments performed by ESI Group in collaboration with the academic partners. The work is aligned with ESI’s global strategy to provide End-To-End solutions for the composite products development.

The developed solutions allow for a reliable investigation of the performance properties of 3D woven composites. To this end, virtual material characterization techniques have been developed, that allow to accommodate the unique features of 3D textiles. This includes the efficient handling of manufacturing effects. While the University of Bristol focused on the development of an approach for the mesoscopic forming analysis, University of Nottingham investigated techniques for the simulation-based determination of the material permeability. The derived results have been used subsequently in the performance analysis using the commercial software package ESI Virtual Performance Solution (VPS).

The developed meso-scale characterization approach allows for an analysis of effective stiffness and strength properties. Special techniques have been identified to efficiently transfer these properties in a macroscopic part simulation. This includes the investigation of model order reduction techniques to reduce the computational cost of the simulations. The approach is validated against multiple experimental tests of different complexity for two distinct material architectures (layer to layer and angle interlock).

Document Details

AuthorMüller. S
Date 18th June 2019
OrganisationEngineering System International GmbH


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