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Composites Process Simulation: A Review of the State of the Art

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Composites Process Simulation: A Review of the State of the Art for Product Development

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A fundamental concept in materials science is that process history leads to microstructure evolution, which in turn determines mechanical and functional properties. For composite components, where the material is transformed at the same time as the component is created, the local process history is a function of the whole processing system which includes material(s), part shape, tooling, and equipment. As both structural size and production scale up, controlling process history and hence microstructural and property evolution becomes progressively more difficult. In an ideal situation, every step of the process is well understood in terms of the underlying physics and can be simulated mathematically. The quality and breadth of, and confidence in these process simulations determines how they can be used. If low, they can be used as job-aids which are validated experimentally. If high, they might be used as part of the formal process validation and documentation. Developing this type of capability is the current rage across all manufacturing industries, under the banner of Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME), Industry 4.0, and the like. However, composites manufacturing processes are very complex, and there is a notable lack of data compared to other industrial sectors with much larger production volumes. Although adoption of these new technologies has been slower than elsewhere, the last twenty years are showing accelerating adoption of process simulation in the aerospace composites sector. This webinar introduces process simulation, with a high-level assessment of the state of the art, and guidance on how it might be used as part of a product development approach.

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