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Content archived on 2024-06-16

Integrated tool for simulation of textile composites

Final Report Summary - ITOOL (Integrated tool for simulation of textile composites)

The ultimate aim of the ITOOL project was to increase the usage of textile preforming for composites in aeronautic applications. Preforming offered a potential cost saving of 20-30 % in materials and processing compared with prepreg technology. Nevertheless, in order to take advantage of this potential the adequate design and analysis methods and especially, the validated simulation tools were necessary. The approach adopted by the project covered these aspects by developing an integrated solution simulating the manufacturing and processing chain, as well as the loading stage to get reliable results for the Three-dimensional (3D) fibre architectures. Strong focus was laid on braiding, weaving and stitching technologies, including non-crimp fabrics. The resulting types of preforms would be analysed on different approximation levels to take inhomogeneous fibre distribution and waviness into account.

To fulfil the objectives within a limited time scale, the linking and integration of different stand-alone solutions in the tool chain was proposed, thus creating an open flexible interface for data exchange and communication. Furthermore, the main value was gained for the user of textile composites. ITOOL would set up a standard for testing, modelling and simulation with minimised interference and without data loss, in correspondence with the market demands. Further impact of the enhanced simulation capabilities would be a distinct reduction of at least 20 % in necessary testing effort, as well as a lead time reduction of more than 15 %.

While technologies for the manufacturing of textile reinforced composite parts were continuously improving in the past, flexible and qualitative methods for the analysis of these materials and their parts were difficult to find if yet not been developed. Within the ITOOL project a multi-level approach for the simulation of different aspects of textile reinforced composite material was developed. Detailed geometrical models that represent 3D fibre architectures were developed and were used as a base to generate finite element models that enable the analysis of infiltration and draping processes, as well as detailed analysis of the mechanical performance including failure, damage and high strain rate behaviours. Advanced homogenisation methods were adopted to predict average properties that could be used for part analysis. Moreover, certain developments led to a first integration of different existing tools by the development of the data transfer protocols and the material data base (DataTool). These techniques enabled the communication between the previously existing tools.

Basic structural elements, as well as key manufacturing methods were identified and design guidelines and rules of thumb were set up based on their evaluation. The know-how and the experience obtained during the project were collected in a document that was intended for possible standardisation of textile reinforced composite features. Finally, the cost-benefit analysis showed that the ITOOL approach was effective in terms of costs and effort, and hence, it was proven that further developments of the ITOOL features were definitely worth.