Manufacturers in an ever-widening array of industries are discovering the versatility of composites for strong, lightweight designs. Whatever the application, for the most cost-efficient and highest performance use of these advanced materials, design optimization software is essential.
Now, NASA-born Collier Research, a leader in the field of aerospace composites and metals optimization for more than 20 years, has just released HyperSizer Express™, which delivers key capabilities of Collier’s high-end HyperSizer® tool in a user-friendly package aimed at the composite engineer.
Collier founder and president Craig Collier notes that 95 percent of users can, without a manual or instruction, import their finite element model (FEM) into Express and produce optimum composite laminates that satisfy all analyses to all load cases within 30 minutes. The automatically updated model will arrive at the minimum weight with global plies identified, layer by layer, producing fully manufacturable laminate designs.
“This kind of nonparametric optimization in Express is one reason it is so easy to use,” says Collier. “You don’t have to put in constraints or minimum/maximum values. You just say, ‘I want to make this out of carbon fiber,’ or ‘I want to make this out of fiberglass,’ and the software will show you the optimum solution based on your FEM.”
Tighter coupling to FEA optimizes product behavior analysis
Express is even more tightly coupled to FEA programs, such as NASTRAN and Abaqus, than the Pro version is. “Tight FEA coupling is key for the types of mechanical response analyses an engineer would carry out with Express,” says Collier. “These are driven primarily by bending stiffness, which requires a direct interaction with FEA solutions when optimizing laminate stackings.”
In the case of bike-frame design, for example, there are many “rideability” load cases, such as pedal startups and hard landings. “A common performance test carried out in the lab is to apply a force to the frame to simulate a front tire wall impact,” says Collier. “In addition to optimizing to strength criteria to prevent failure, manufacturers want to optimize their composite frames so they only displace a limited amount. These prescribed deflection limits represent desired handling of the bike. Express will effectively optimize the frame for these kinds of deflection limits, with fabric and unidirectional layers, to determine that best shape and location of the individual plies as well as the best orientation they should be placed in.
“These capabilities meet the needs of a broad range of composite engineers who work with laminates as well as with honeycomb or foam cored sandwiches,” he says.
Applications can include:
• Automotive – Doors, trunks, hoods, body panels, floor panels, body in white
• Sporting Goods – Bike frames, snowboards, tennis racquets
• Medical – Orthopedic prostheses
• Industrial – Robotic end effectors
• Marine – Yachts, sailboats
• Wind Energy – Turbine blades
• Aerospace – Seats, doors, winglets, flaps
For more information, visit www.hypersizer.com