Informing Hybrid-Molded Composite Performance Using Manufacturing Process Simulation

Justin D Miller, Purdue University


Inexpensive, lightweight, and complex structural components, which are as strong as existing metal components and provide optimal impact performance, are necessary to improve design efficiency. A hybrid approach to composites manufacturing utilizes the structural performance of continuous fiber materials and the design flexibility of discontinuous fiber reinforced thermoplastics. Composite performance is dependent on the properties of the constituent materials and the orientation of the reinforcements. The orientation, and thus the performance, of composite reinforcements are determined by the manufacturing process. Accurate modeling of composite performance requires capturing the as-manufactured material properties. Commercial process simulation tools exist for thermoforming of continuous fiber composites as well as molding of discontinuous fiber composites which allow prediction of the as-manufactured fiber orientations. These fiber orientations may be coupled with multi-scale material modeling tools to predict effective properties for use in performance simulations. A process has been developed for combining the thermoforming and molding process simulations to inform the performance of hybrid-molded composite materials. These results inform the performance by capturing fiber orientation of each of the materials and predicting as-manufactured effective properties. The dissimilar material properties lead to additional design challenges including the bonding interface and dimensional instability. The combined manufacturing process simulations enable the capture of these properties in performance simulations which will improve the hybrid-molded composite design process. Studies on a simple coupon and a generic complex beam demonstrate the effect of including as-manufactured material properties in performance simulations. Other phenomena that must be considered in performance and process design of hybrid-molded composites have been evaluated including dimensional stability, interface temperatures, weld lines, and air traps.




Yu, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Aerospace engineering

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