January 21, 2009

Filed under: Composites, General — Tags: , , — admin @ 3:03 pm

In the building of large composite structures, such as the new the new aircraft by Airbus and Boeing, the use of computer modeling is playing an increasingly important role. The same is true in the design of composite sandwich structures used where weight, specifications, and cost are important.

By using what is called, “Finite Element Analysis”, or FEA, engineers can model a composite sandwich structure, and closely predict loads and failure points prior to actually constructing a panel. The engineer can vary skin and core material in the design, and vary lay-ups and ply schedules of the composite face sheets.

Doing this often elements the “guess and check” method of using composites for a product. Optimization allows the composite sandwich structure to meet all required levels of compression and shear stregth, while eleminiting any excess materials. This helps reduce weight, which is often the reason in selecting composites in the first place. Additionally, when weight is reduced and less material is used, costs go down, and this is important for everyone.

Here is a link to a recent NASA Tech Brief.

Popular FEA software used in composites include:

SolidWorks
Cosmos

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