Numerical simulation of thermoplastic composite materials: from raw material to structural performance

  • Tavares, Rodrigo (Solvay)
  • Chevalier, Jérémy (Solvay)
  • Jovas, Bob (Solvay)
  • Lani, Frédéric (Solvay)

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ABSTRACT The recent growth in computational power and advanced composite modelling techniques [1,2,3], makes the use of efficient simulation tools extremely interesting to different industries, by allowing both the cost and lead time of a development project. However, the increased application of fibre reinforced composite materials has presented new challenges to engineers due to the highly complex failure mechanisms and uncertainties introduced by the manufacturing process. This is especially true for thermoplastic composites where out-of-autoclave manufacturing processes such as pressing forming influence fibre directions and may also induce undesired wrinkles, waviness and under undesirable defects in the materials, leading to a reduction in part performance. In this work, a methodology and respective computational workflow are presented for the virtual analysis of thermoplastic composite materials from the raw material to the final part performance analysis. This methodology requires not only the definition of the correct numerical tools for each step of the process (forming, spring-in/warpage and performance simulations), but also the definition of the best procedures to characterize the material systems and validate the different material card parameters at each step. This framework is set up based on a building block approach with parallel physical and virtual testing targeted for an industrial application environment, making it necessary to make selective compromises to achieve lower computational costs, without significantly impacting the models’ predictive capacity. REFERENCES [1] Furtado, C., et al. "Simulation of failure in laminated polymer composites: Building-block validation." Composite Structures 226 (2019): 111168. [2] Tijs, B. H. A. H., et al. "Virtual testing of thermoplastic composites: towards a hybrid simulation-physical testing pyramid." ECCM18-18th European Conference on Composite Materials, Athens, Greece. 2018. [3] Falcó, O., et al. "Modelling and simulation methodology for unidirectional composite laminates in a Virtual Test Lab framework." Composite Structures 190 (2018): 137-159.