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16-11-2019 | Original Research | Issue 6/2020 Open Access

International Journal of Material Forming 6/2020

Predicting consolidation-induced wrinkles and their effects on composites structural performance

International Journal of Material Forming > Issue 6/2020
Balazs Varkonyi, Jonathan P.-H. Belnoue, James Kratz, Stephen R. Hallett
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The majority of high-performance composite parts are nowadays designed using advanced numerical simulations that are able to accurately predict a part’s strength and deformation, providing that the internal ply architecture and exact fibre orientation are known with sufficient accuracy. However, most parts have some deviation of the fibre orientation from the ‘as-designed’ geometry, leading to the simulation overestimating the component’s strength. Up until recently, the advancement of the process simulation tools has not been sufficient to allow knowledge of this fibre deviation before any part has been manufactured, thus leading to overly conservative designs and costly experimental optimisation of the manufacturing process to reduce fibre path defects. This results in additional cost, waste of material and increased fuel consumption (due to the unnecessary weight of the components). This paper shows how state-of-the-art composite manufacturing simulations of the autoclave consolidation process can predict and help to mitigate against out-of-plane wrinkle formation in components made from toughened UD prepregs and thus raise confidence in failure analyses predictions. The industry relevant case of a stepped laminate is used as an example. Model predictions for the internal ply geometries are quantitatively compared to micrograph images of real samples. It is then shown how the input of the simulated ply architecture helps improving the accuracy of the failure simulations.

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