Finite Element Modelling of a 3D Woven Composite for Automotive Applications

A 3D woven composite, designed for automotive applications, is studied using Abaqus Finite Element (FE) software suite. Python scripts were developed to build FE models of the woven composite in Complete Abaqus Environment (CAE). They can read TexGen or WiseTex files and automatically generate consistent meshes of the fabric and the matrix. A user menu is provided to help define parameters for the FE models, such as type and size of the elements in fabric and matrix as well as the type of matrix-fabric interaction. Node-to-node constraints were imposed to guarantee periodicity of the deformed shapes at the boundaries of the representative volume element of the composite. Tensile loads in three axes and biaxial loads in x-y directions have been applied at different Fibre Volume Fractions (FVFs). A simple damage model was implemented via an Abaqus user material (UMAT) subroutine. Existing tools for homogenization were also used, including voxel mesh generation from TexGen as well as Abaqus Micromechanics plugin. Linear relations between homogenised elastic properties and the FVFs are given. The FE models of composite exhibited balanced behaviour with respect to warp and weft directions in terms of both stiffness and strength.

Micromechanics of Stress Transfer across the Interface Fiber-Matrix Bonding

The study and application of composite materials are a truly interdisciplinary endeavor that has been enriched by contributions from chemistry, physics, materials science, mechanics and manufacturing engineering. The understanding of the interface (or interphase) in composites is the central point of this interdisciplinary effort. From the early development of composite materials of various nature, the optimization of the interface has been of major importance. Even more important, the ideas linking the properties of composites to the interface structure are still emerging. In our study, we need a direct characterization of the interface; the micromechanical tests we are addressing seem to meet this objective and we chose to use two complementary tests simultaneously. The microindentation test that can be applied to real composites and the drop test, preferred to the pull-out because of the theoretical possibility of studying systems with high adhesion (which is a priori the case with our systems). These two tests are complementary because of the principle of the model specimen used for both the first "compression indentation" and the second whose fiber is subjected to tensile stress called the drop test. Comparing the results obtained by the two methods can therefore be rewarding.

Three Dimensional Finite Element Analysis of Functionally Graded Radiation Shielding Nanoengineered Sandwich Composites

In recent years, nanotechnology has played an important role in the design of an efficient radiation shielding polymeric composites. It is well known that, high loading of nanomaterials with radiation absorption properties can enhance the radiation attenuation efficiency of shielding structures. However, due to difficulties in dispersion of nanomaterials into polymer matrices, there has been a limitation in higher loading percentages of nanoparticles in the polymer matrix. Therefore, the objective of the present work is to provide a methodology to fabricate and then to characterize the functionally graded radiation shielding structures, which can provide an efficient radiation absorption property along with good structural integrity. Sandwich structures composed of Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE) fabric as face sheets and functionally graded epoxy nanocomposite as core material were fabricated. A method to fabricate a functionally graded core panel with controllable gradient dispersion of nanoparticles is discussed. In order to optimize the design of functionally graded sandwich composites and to analyze the stress distribution throughout the sandwich composite thickness, a finite element method was used. The sandwich panels were discretized using 3-Dimensional 8 nodded brick elements. Classical laminate analysis in conjunction with simplified micromechanics equations were used to obtain the properties of the face sheets. The presented finite element model would provide insight into deformation and damage mechanics of the functionally graded sandwich composites from the structural point of view.

Development of an Elastic Functionally Graded Interphase Model for the Micromechanics Response of Composites

A new micromechanics framework is developed for long fibre reinforced composites using a single fibre surrounded by a functionally graded interphase and matrix as a representative unit cell. The unit cell is formulated to represent any number of aligned fibres by a single fibre. Using this model the elastic response of long fibre composites is predicted in all directions. The model is calibrated to experimental results and shows very good agreement in the elastic regime. The differences between the proposed model and existing models are discussed.

Micromechanics Modeling of 3D Network Smart Orthotropic Structures

Two micromechanical models for 3D smart composite with embedded periodic or nearly periodic network of generally orthotropic reinforcements and actuators are developed and applied to cubic structures with unidirectional orientation of constituents. Analytical formulas for the effective piezothermoelastic coefficients are derived using the Asymptotic Homogenization Method (AHM). Finite Element Analysis (FEA) is subsequently developed and used to examine the aforementioned periodic 3D network reinforced smart structures. The deformation responses from the FE simulations are used to extract effective coefficients. The results from both techniques are compared. This work considers piezoelectric materials that respond linearly to changes in electric field, electric displacement, mechanical stress and strain and thermal effects. This combination of electric fields and thermo-mechanical response in smart composite structures is characterized by piezoelectric and thermal expansion coefficients. The problem is represented by unitcell and the models are developed using the AHM and the FEA to determine the effective piezoelectric and thermal expansion coefficients. Each unit cell contains a number of orthotropic inclusions in the form of structural reinforcements and actuators. Using matrix representation of the coupled response of the unit cell, the effective piezoelectric and thermal expansion coefficients are calculated and compared with results of the asymptotic homogenization method. A very good agreement is shown between these two approaches.

Effect of Carbon Nanotube Reinforcement in Polymer Composite Plates under Static Loading

In the implementation of Carbon Nanotube Reinforced Polymer matrix Composites in structural applications, deflection and stress analysis are important considerations. In the present study, a multi scale analysis of deflection and stress analysis of carbon nanotube (CNT) reinforced polymer composite plates is presented. A micromechanics model based on the Mori-Tanaka method is developed by introducing straight CNTs aligned in one direction. The effect of volume fraction and diameter of CNTs on plate deflection and the stresses are investigated using classical laminate plate theory (CLPT). The study is primarily conducted with the intention of observing the suitability of CNT reinforced polymer composite plates under static loading for structural applications.

Identification of Micromechanical Fracture Model for Predicting Fracture Performance of Steel Wires for Civil Engineering Applications

The fracture performance of steel wires for civil engineering applications remains a major concern in civil engineering construction and maintenance of wire reinforced structures. The need to employ approaches that simulate micromechanical material processes which characterizes fracture in civil structures has been emphasized recently in the literature. However, choosing from the numerous micromechanics-based fracture models, and identifying their applicability and reliability remains an issue that still needs to be addressed in a greater depth. Laboratory tensile testing and finite element tensile testing simulations with the shear, ductile and Gurson-Tvergaard-Needleman’s micromechanics-based models conducted in this work reveal that the shear fracture model is an appropriate fracture model to predict the fracture performance of steel wires used for civil engineering applications. The need to consider the capability of the micromechanics-based fracture model to predict the “cup and cone” fracture exhibited by the wire in choosing the appropriate fracture model is demonstrated.

Influence of Fiber Packing on Transverse Plastic Properties of Metal Matrix Composites

The present paper concerns with the influence of fiber packing on the transverse plastic properties of metal matrix composites. A micromechanical modeling procedure is used to predict the effective mechanical properties of composite materials at large tensile and compressive deformations. Microstructure is represented by a repeating unit cell (RUC). Two fiber arrays are considered including ideal square fiber packing and random fiber packing defined by random sequential algorithm. The micromechanical modeling procedure is implemented for graphite/aluminum metal matrix composite in which the reinforcement behaves as elastic, isotropic solids and the matrix is modeled as an isotropic elastic-plastic solid following the von Mises criterion with isotropic hardening and the Ramberg-Osgood relationship between equivalent true stress and logarithmic strain. The deformation is increased to a considerable value to evaluate both elastic and plastic behaviors of metal matrix composites. The yields strength and true elastic-plastic stress are determined for graphite/aluminum composites.