Composite design and analysis solution

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology

ISSN: 0002-2667

Article publication date: 1 June 2000




(2000), "Composite design and analysis solution", Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, Vol. 72 No. 3.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

Composite design and analysis solution

Keywords Composite Design Technologies, MSC Software Corp, Software, CAD, Composites

Composite Design Technologies, Inc. (CDT), creator of CAD integrated software solutions for composite design and manufacturing, and MSC.Software Corp. (NYSE:MNS), developer of simulation software, recently announced that they have partnered to provide a seamless link between FiberSIM, MSC.Patran, and MSC.Patran Laminate Modeler to achieve improved composite design, manufacturing and performance simulation. This link makes it possible for analysts to access the CAD master model of a composite part in its to-be-manufactured state at any time during the design process and verify that the part meets the design performance specifications. This is thought to promote concurrent engineering for composites and enables design optimization that results in significant cost reductions and improvements in part performance.

Until the integration of these products, the final design of a composite part could not be verified. The typical composite part design process starts with an analyst using the MSC suite of tools to determine the requirements for the initial design, including laminate thickness, ply orientation, material etc., based on expected loads. These requirements are then passed to the design engineer who uses CDT's FiberSIM suite of tools that are integrated in the CAD system to design the composite part details while attempting to meet the requirements. Composites offer tremendous savings in weight, but designing parts with these materials can be very complicated. A typical part is made of tens or hundreds of individual plies of various materials, each having a unique shape, orientation and location. According to CDT even with the best tools and most diligent efforts, the final design may differ significantly from the initial preliminary design; prior to this cooperative effort between MSC.Software and CDT, it was impossible to send the complete composite part definition that is stored in the CAD model back to the analyst for verification. The true performance of the final part was therefore unknown.

In CDT's opinion, by linking the capabilities of FiberSIM, MSC.Patran Laminate Modeler, and MSC.Patran, designers can now return the master model part definition that resides in the CAD system, complete with fiber orientations and all other details, to the analyst for verification. Closing the loop between the designer and the analyst allows companies to proceed to the manufacturing stage with confidence that the design for manufacture will meet the strength requirements and eliminate the practice of part over-design that so often defeats the purpose of using composites in the first place.

The company points out that not only does the integration of FiberSIM, MSC.Patran Laminate Modeler and MSC.Patran enable part verification; it makes part optimization possible. It is now so easy to pass the complete part definition between the designers and analysts that several iterations of the part can be performed to achieve the optimum design they report. As a result, engineers can begin to take advantage of the great performance advantages that composites can provide.

CDT and MSC.Software have been working closely together for a year and a half to link their products. The two companies plan to continue their collaborative efforts in the future by further tightening the integration of their products. Executives from both companies expect that this will have dramatic effects on how composite parts are designed and will increase the usage of composite materials in new markets by enabling designers and analysts to exploit the advantages of working with advanced materials.

Experience has shown that the use of these products together shortens design cycles, optimizes part designs for maximum performance, reduces material costs, and increases the usage of composites in new domains.

Details available from: Composite Design Technologies, Inc. Tel: +1 781 290 0506. MSC Software Corporation. Tel: +1 714 445 3525.

Related articles