Hybrid Finite Element-Geometric Forming Simulation of Composite Materials

Mehran Ebrahimi, Matt Thorn

The Composites and Advanced Materials Expo (CAMX)


Computer simulations can extensively help engineers to gain a better understanding of the fabrication processes prior to actually applying them, thus avoiding the manufacturing costs associated with trial-and-error for creating new designs. Of particular importance is fiber-reinforced composite material parts, as their fabrication cost is comparably higher than traditional materials such as metals. In this paper, a hybrid finite element-geometric algorithm for draping simulation of woven fabric composites over a triangulated 3D surface is described. In this algorithm, the composite fabric is characterized as a group of square or rectangular cells modelled via six springs to which a set of physical equations is applied. The values of spring constants are representative of the actual material properties. Hence, compared to purely geometrical methods, this algorithm leads to a more accurate simulation of wrinkles and distortions, and converges significantly faster than purely finite element approaches. The flat contour can also be produced naturally along with the draping simulation. The hybrid approach can also seed normal simulation models in order to gain efficiencies on calculation time. Initial results were testing on various single-layer forming simulations.

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