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Finite Element Analysis for Stiffness and Peak Stress Predictions

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Finite Element Analysis for Stiffness and Peak Stress Predictions in Short Chip Composites


Typical industrial practice is to make composites by cutting prepregs into the desired shape and using a combination of temperature and pressure to achieve compaction. Despite CAD based optimization, as much as 20-50% of their prepreg material gets thrown away as scrap. One possible solution is to chop this waste into chips and use it to strengthen a polymer matrix. In this paper, we present a method to optimize the reuse of prepreg scrap. Full finite element models representing the microstructure of chip composites are built and the predicted stiffness properties are compared with experimental data. This tool is used to predict the stiffness of the composite as a function of the volume fraction of the chip. Additionally, stress concentrations and damage modes are studied to get insight into fatigue and damage tolerance of such materials. The proposed model is finally used to optimize the composites by determining the optimal shape and volume fraction of the chip for specific applications. The proposed method allows for better understanding and optimization of chip composites without extensive testing by running easy to perform parametric studies. Using these finite element models, it is possible to go beyond static properties and get an understanding of the stress concentrations and fatigue and damage tolerance of these composites, which is not possible by simple testing.  This understanding could lead to higher application of such materials in aerospace and automotive structures.


Authors: Huy K. Pham, Atul Jain, Steven R. Nutt


Conference: CAMX 2016 – Anaheim


SKU/Code: TP16-0153


Pages: 16

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