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Crashworthiness modelling of SMC composite materials.

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The purpose of this research is to make an investigation into the crashworthiness modelling of Sheet Moulding Compound (SMC) composite materials, and to study the response of SMC composite structures under dynamic loading. The primary research objectives are thus to review classical and advanced material failure models, and to perform numerical simulation of the crash of composite structures using already available material models. Additionally, a new material model is to be developed for implementation into a commercially available finite element package. In parallel with the numerical simulation of the crasrung of an SMC composite structure, experimentation is performed which is used as a source of validation and comparison with the simulation. For this purpose a testing regime is introduced, which may be mirrored in simulation. As any material model requires initial experimental inputs, the purpose of experimentation is twofold, with testing required both for the quantification of the required model inputs and the basic material characterisation before simulation may begin, as well as for the proposed validation and comparison after the simulation has been carried out. Thus the design of the testing methodology, as well as the design, selection and fabrication of the testing equipment and the composite specimens and demonstrators, as well the actual testing itself, are necessary secondary requirements of the project. Once the testing regime has been facilitated and carried out, numerical simulation validation using already available composite material models may then be carried out at various levels. The results are then analysed and validated with the resultant justification of a new model being developed. The critical viewpoint to be delivered throughout is the need for theoretical formulations for material modelling to be extensively researched and validated in terms of their implementabilty and practicality, a key analysis seemingly missing in most technical write-ups. Such analyses are performed and discussed here, rughlighting the volume of additional work that is encompassed by such a study.


Thesis (M.Sc.Eng.)-University of Natal, Durban, 2003.


Moulding (Founding), Composite materials--Mechanical properties., Automobiles--Crashworthiness., Composite materials--Testing., Theses--Mechanical engineering.