Crush simulation and experimental model validation for laminated composite structures.
The primary aim of this study is to develop a modelling approach useful for modelling the response of thin-walled fibre reinforced composite components (particularly laminates) to crushing loads, with the overall direction being towards a reliable methodology for modelling crash scenarios involving composite structures. As such, experimental work is completed in order to characterise the material being studied, as well as to obtain physical data for the crushing of a composite component. The results of numerical modelling are compared with the experimental data in order to evaluate the performance of the implemented models. A review of published literature for the progressive damage modelling of laminated composite materials provides the background for selection of a material model for modelling the real behaviour of the elementary ply of the laminated material. This model is to be implemented into a Finite Element code using a material characterisation process that is based on the material's experimentally recorded behaviour. Experimentation to investigate the effect of variations in reinforcement orientation and distribution on the crush response of a composite demonstrator component is also undertaken. This experimentally recorded data provides information on the physical response of a real composite component under varied load cases and with varied internal structure. Capturing of data in this way provides a wider scope of physical data for comparison with the predictions of the simulation algorithm and opens the door for further developments aimed at optimising a component's crash response through manipulation of internal structure. Simulation of the demonstrator component's response to a constant velocity crushing load shows the predictions resulting from the underlying modelling methodology and comparison of the predicted response with the data recorded from physical testing provides a basis for evaluating the performance of the models, as applied. With a known level of confidence provided through the experimental validation program, modelling of the demonstrator's response to impact loading conditions provides predictions of the demonstrator crash response.