Skip to main content
European Commission logo print header

Uncertainty Quantification for Composite Structures Under Impact Loading

Project description

Better predictions of impact damage will enhance the design of composites for aircraft

Many industries, including aerospace, shipping and civil engineering, are increasingly relying on lightweight, high-performance carbon fibre-reinforced polymer composites (CFRPs) as an alternative to metal components. CFRPs consist of carbon fibres embedded in a polymer matrix, and the properties can theoretically be tailored through the controlled selection of materials and processing parameters. However, CFRPs are susceptible to impact damage, and there is currently no good way to accurately predict complex damage mechanisms, given the components' heterogeneous microstructure. The EU-funded CERTAINTY project is developing a computational capability to more accurately predict the mechanical response under impact loading using probabilistic rather than deterministic models. Taking variability in model parameters into account, the model promises to facilitate enhanced structural design and increase the competitiveness of the European aerospace industry.


Carbon fibre reinforced composites (CFRP) have been increasingly used in aeronautical/aerospace structures given their outstanding specific stiffness and strength. However, CFRPs exhibit weak through-thickness strength, making them susceptible to impact damage, a design driver for aerostructures. Induced impact damage may reduce the compressive strength of the structure, and the inherent complex damage mechanisms of CFRP are difficult to predict. With a better predictive capability, structural design could be faster, cost effective and lead to a lighter and more damage tolerant nal structure. In reality, experimental characterisation of these CFRPs reveals appreciable variability of material properties, attributed to a complex heterogeneous microstructure, among others. This action (CERTAINTY) aims at developing the next generation methodology for predicting the mechanical response of CFRPs under impact loading by accounting for uncertainty in material properties and harnessing this in a physically-based damage model across different scales. CERTAINTY will provide a robust computational framework by introducing probabilistic models in contrast to traditional deterministic ones, by employing: Monte Carlo and metamodel techniques when the Monte Carlo approach is not suitable. CERTAINTY will further enable the researcher to establish collaborations with leading industrial partners. Targeted training will enable the researcher to develop a research career as a world expert in the design of CFRP aerostructures quantifying uncertainties associated with damage modelling. By demonstrating how damage mechanisms vary in a CFRP under impact loading, taking fracture toughness and material parameters variability into account in the damage modelling, the researcher and the host will be at the forefront of developing the next generation methodology for designing advanced lightweight aerostructures, delivering a key differentiator for the European aerospace industry.


Net EU contribution
€ 224 933,76
University road lanyon building
BT7 1NN Belfast
United Kingdom

See on map

Northern Ireland Northern Ireland Belfast
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00