Material modeling remains one of the interesting challenges in composites design. Traditional testing methods and characterization procedures applied to metals are not sufficient for composites, as there is too much complexity coming from the microstructure, part geometry, process conditions; relying on physical testing alone is not only cost prohibitive but also makes it an infeasible option.
To have a realistic performance prediction and optimum design of composite materials, modeling should consider the microstructure as well. Micromechanics approaches characterize the heterogeneous composite behavior by analyzing the constituents, and with a multiscale coupling, the material model developed on the microstructure is propagated to different scales like a macro model of the structure under investigation.
There is a simple but useful explanation of micromechanics approaches on Wikipedia from which the image above is referenced. Composite properties and material information is propagated up the pyramid from micro to the macro model, whereas the stress and strain fields from macro to micro that helps studying localization of failure and damage.
Altair Partner Alliance makes leading technologies in this domain available, from material modeling to design & optimization, to failure prediction and damage tolerance, complementing the composites design capabilities of RADIOSS and OptiStruct. With so many types of composites (i.e. short fiber, long fiber, woven, particle reinforced, etc.) simulated in implicit and explicit macro solvers using analytical and direct methods, there is continuous development activity pushing this technology to address the needs. As with any analysis procedures, the appropriate methodology chosen will be a tradeoff of accuracy, speed of computation, ease of se of coupling with macro solvers. The good news is that APA customers can try one or all of these technologies and choose the best solution for the problem they are solving.
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