Engineering with Computers

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 25–37 | Cite as

A simulation-based design paradigm for complex cast components

  • Stéphane P. A. Bordas
  • James G. Conley
  • Brian Moran
  • Joe Gray
  • Ed Nichols
Original Article


This paper describes and exercises a new design paradigm for cast components. The methodology integrates foundry process simulation, non-destructive evaluation (NDE), stress analysis and damage tolerance simulations into the design process. Foundry process simulation is used to predict an array of porosity-related anomalies. The probability of detection of these anomalies is investigated with a radiographic inspection simulation tool (XRSIM). The likelihood that the predicted array of anomalies will lead to a failure is determined by a fatigue crack growth simulation based on the extended finite element method and therefore does not require meshing nor remeshing as the cracks grow. With this approach, the casting modeling provides initial anomaly information, the stress analysis provides a value for the critical size of an anomaly and the NDE assessment provides a detectability measure. The combination of these tools allows for accept/reject criteria to be determined at the early design stage and enables damage tolerant design philosophies. The methodology is applied to the design of a cast monolithic door used on the Boeing 757 aircraft.


Casting design and modeling Extended finite element method, XFEM Crack growth and damage tolerance analysis Non-destructive evaluation Industrial problems Micro–macro simulations 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the FAA through FAA contract DTFA03- 98-F-IA025 Design and Quality Assurance of Premium Quality Aerospace Castings. Special thanks is extended to Xiaogong Lee, John Backuckas and Terry Khaled of the FAA for their support and availability throughout the project. The authors especially appreciated the direction, encouragement and support of the late Richard Topp of the Boeing Company.


  1. 1.
    Rice RC, Jackson JL, Bakuckas J, Thompson S (2002) Mil-m-8856 metallic materials properties development standards (mmpds) handbook. Scientific Report, U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, Office of Aviation Research, January 1, 2002–December 31, 2002, used to be known as MIL-HDBK-5Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Scoville T (1998) The emergence of aluminum castings in commercial airframes. ASM International, Materials Solutions, Rosemont, pp 117–125Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Kearney AL (1973) The use of aluminum castings in aerospace structures. In: Transactions of the American foundrymen’s society, pp 383–387Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Allison D (1999) The application of titanium castings for commercial structure in airplanes. In: Proceedings of IMECE, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, NYCGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Chong D (1993) Use of titanium castings without a casting factor. In: Transactions of the American foundrymen’s society, pp 261–266Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Conley JG, Moran B, Gray J (1998) A new paradigm for the design of safety critical castings. J Mater Manuf SAE Trans 106:25–38 used to be known as MIL-HDBK-5Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Gray J (2000) Recent developments of an X-ray NDE simulation tool, keynote. In: Preben N, Hansen Peter R, Sahm, James G, Conley (eds) Modeling of casting, welding and advanced solidification processes IX, ninth international conference on modeling of casting, welding and advanced solidification processes, August 20–25, 2000Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Conley JG, Huang J, Asada J, Akiba K (2000) Modeling the effects of cooling rate, hydrogen content, grain refiner and modifier on microporosity formation in al a356 alloys. Mater Sci Eng A 285(1–2):49–55Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Huang J, Conley JG (1998) Simulation of microporosity formation in modified and unmodified a356 alloy castings. Metall Mater Trans 29B(12):1249–1260CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Huang J, Conley JG (1998) Computer simulation of pore size and shape for equiaxed aluminum alloy castings. Trans Am Foundry Soc 29(6):1249–1260Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Conley JG, Moran B, Bordas S (2003) Integrated design approach of aerospace castings. Design and Quality Assurance of Premium Quality Aerospace Castings, FAA contract DTFA03-98-F-IA025. Northwestern University, Center for Quality Engineering and Failure Prevention, McCormick School of Engineering and Applied ScienceGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Bordas SPA (2003) Extended finite element method and level set methods with applications to the growth of cracks and biofilms. PhD thesis, Northwestern UniversityGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Belytschko T, Black T (1999) Elastic crack growth in finite elements with minimal remeshing. Int J Numer Meth Eng 45:601–620zbMATHCrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Bordas S, Moran B (2006) Extended finite element and level set method for damage tolerance assessment of complex structures. Eng Fract Mech 73(9):1176–1201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Bordas S, Nguyen VP, Dunant C, Nguyen-Dang H, Guidoum A (2006) An object-oriented extended finite element library. Int J Numer Meth Eng (in press)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Stéphane P, Bordas S, Legay A (2005). Enriched finite element short course: class notes. In: The extended finite element method, a new approach to numerical analysis in mechanics: course notes. Organized by S. Bordas and A. Legay through the EPFL school of continuing education, Lausanne, Switzerland, December 7–9, 2005Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Moran B, Bordas S, Conley JG (2003) Damage tolerance assessment of complex aerospace structures. Design and Quality Assurance of Premium Quality Aerospace Castings, FAA contract DTFA03-98-F-IA025, 2003. Northwestern University, Center for Quality Engineering and Failure Prevention, McCormick School of Engineering and Applied ScienceGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Bordas A, Ronald H, Hoppe W, Petrova SI (2006) Mechanical failure in microstructural heterogeneous materials. In: Lecture notes in computer science (LNCS) post-proceedings. Proceedings of the sixth international conference on numerical methods and applications—NM&A’06, Borovets, Bulgaria, August 24–26, 2006 (in press)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Belytschko T, Parimi C, Moës N, Usui S, Sukumar N (2003) Structured extended finite element methods of solids defined by implicit surfaces. Int J Numer Meth Eng 56:609–635zbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Moës N, Cloirec M, Cartraud P, Remacle J-F (2003) A computational approach to handle complex microstructure geometries. Comput Meth Appl Mech Eng 192:3163–3177zbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Hollister SJ, Kikuchi N (1994) Homogeneization theory and digital imaging: a basis for studying the mechanics and design principles of bone tissue. Biotech Bioeng 94(43):586–596CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Wentorf R, Collar R, Shepard MS, Fish J (1999) Automated modeling for complex woven microstructures. Comput Meth Appl Mech Eng 172(1–4):493–506CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stéphane P. A. Bordas
    • 1
    • 2
  • James G. Conley
    • 3
  • Brian Moran
    • 4
  • Joe Gray
    • 5
  • Ed Nichols
    • 6
  1. 1.Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Institut des StructuresLaboratoire de Mécanique des Structures et des Milieux Continus (LSC)LausanneSwitzerland
  2. 2.Civil Engineering DepartmentUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowUK
  3. 3.Northwestern University, Kellogg School of ManagementEvanstonUSA
  4. 4.Mechanical Engineering DepartmentNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA
  5. 5.Iowa State University, Center for NDEAmesUSA
  6. 6.Vought Aircraft IndustriesDallasUSA

Personalised recommendations