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Virtual Testing of Composite Structures: Progress and Challenges in Predicting Damage, Residual Strength and Crashworthiness

  • Brian G. FalzonEmail author
  • Wei Tan
Chapter

Abstract

The entry into service of the Boeing 787 and the Airbus A350 XWB heralded a new era in the utilisation of carbon fibre composite material in the primary structure of passenger aircraft. With an estimated 20 % airframe weight reduction in comparison to equivalent conventional aluminium aircraft, commensurate savings in fuel consumption per revenue passenger kilometre, superior fatigue and corrosion resistance and the promise of reduced maintenance schedules for the operators, it is likely that these materials will continue to feature prominently in future aircraft development programmes. Nonetheless, these ‘all-composite’ aircraft have incurred high development costs which is not a sustainable business model if composites are to be exploited across the product range of airframe manufacturers, especially towards the smaller single-aisle passenger aircraft. The high costs of materials and tooling are exacerbated by slow production rates and the extensive level of physical testing required as part of the development and certification process.

The increased use of simulation at all levels of the development cycle provides tremendous opportunities for reducing costs and improving production efficiencies. While the aerospace industry has been at the forefront of incorporating computational tools in the design and optimisation of aircraft, the use of composites has brought with it a new set of challenges in developing reliable and robust simulation tools. This chapter addresses the development and use of numerical modelling aimed at reducing the extent of physical testing. The ultimate objective is to enable certification by simulation which, in essence, requires the ability to reliably predict damage. This chapter will therefore focus on predicting damage initiation and propagation, the residual strength of damaged structures, and assessing the energy-absorbing capacity of composite structures for crashworthiness assessments. While the emphasis is primarily on aerostructures, the automotive and railway industries are exploring similar lightweighting strategies where issues such as crashworthiness are of paramount importance and where simulation will likewise play a prominent role.

Keywords

Fracture Toughness Digital Image Correlation Damage Initiation Specific Energy Absorption Interlaminar Fracture Toughness 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Nomenclature

E11

Modulus in the fibre direction

τ10

Mode I interlaminar strength

E22

Modulus in the transverse direction

τ2(3)0

Mode II interlaminar strength

E33

Modulus in the thickness direction

GIC(R)

Mode I interlaminar fracture toughness

ν12

Longitudinal-transverse Poisson’s ratio

GIIC(R)

Mode II interlaminar fracture toughness

ν13

Longitudinal-thickness Poisson’s ratio

η

B–K law coefficient

ν23

Transverse-thickness Poisson’s ratio

μNT(NL)

Friction coefficient in Puck’s criteria

G12

Longitudinal-transverse shear modulus

det F

Determinant of deformation gradient

G13

Longitudinal-thickness shear modulus

ρ

Density

G23

Transverse-thickness shear modulus

τijY

Yield strength under ij shear loading

XT

Longitudinal tensile strength

αij

Strain-hardening coefficient for ij

XC

Longitudinal compressive strength

βij

Coefficient for ij non-linear shear profile

YT

Transverse tensile strength

\( {p}_{1-4,\ ij} \)

Degraded shear modulus coefficient

YC

Transverse compressive strength

σ11T(C)

Stress component

S12

In-plane shear strength

dij

Damage parameter

Γ11T

Fibre tensile fracture toughness

σ123(LNT)

Stress in global (local) coordinate system

Γ11C

Fibre compressive fracture toughness

εr,el(in)

Elastic strain/inelastic strain

Γ22T

Matrix tensile fracture toughness

FSS

Steady-state load

Γ22C

Matrix compressive fracture toughness

Fpeak

Peak load

Γij

Shear fracture toughness for ij direction

Eabs

Energy absorbed

\( {G}_{ij}^{*,\ t+\Delta t} \)

Degraded shear modulus

SEA

Specific energy absorption

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Mechanical and Aerospace EngineeringQueen’s University BelfastBelfastUK
  2. 2.School of Mechanical and Electrical EngineeringCentral South UniversityChangshaP.R. China

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