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New software tool for composite design

Designers employing composite solutions cite the inability to predict composite performance: failure mode in particular; as handicap going forward. Thankfully increasingly accurate simulations tools are becoming available such as BASF's (Leverkusen, Germany) Ultrasim package and HyperSizer from Collier Research Corporation (Newport News, VA).

Designers employing composite solutions cite the inability to predict composite performance: failure mode in particular; as handicap going forward. Thankfully increasingly accurate simulations tools are becoming available such as BASF's (Leverkusen, Germany) Ultrasim package and HyperSizer from Collier Research Corporation (Newport News, VA).

Collier Research's latest version of HyperSizer software is said to take a whole new approach to composites optimization. It provides stress analysis and sizing optimization, reducing the weight of aircraft, space vehicles, wind turbine blades and other components. The software self-configures to the loading environment, with optimization speeds of up to 1000 times faster claimed

Version 6.4.5 of HyperSizer composite structural analysis and optimization software not only runs much faster: it is now based on a reconfigured core technology with built-in "intelligence" that reportedly produces more accurate answers with less user input.

hyper 
Software assists designers in optimizing wing box structure of a
commercial aircraft.
"We've developed a completely different approach that will make the engineer's job easier while providing reliable results much faster than before," says Collier Research president and founder Craig Collier. "The software requires less input from the user to set up an optimization of, say, an aerospace structural component or a wind turbine blade. It looks at load magnitude and from there is able to configure itself automatically to do a pre-setup of the proper optimization parameters. This gives the engineer consistent, reliable results regardless of their expertise level."

The analysis engine of v6.4.5 takes advantage of today's high-performance computing technology to speed up runs by 200 to 400% across the board. Optional quick sizing and variable tuning capabilities are as much as 1000 times faster. 

The new version now supports nonlinear and dynamic load stepping Abaqus and Nastran FEA solutions. For the wind industry, weight/cost optimization has also been added to enable engineers to include the effects of material choices on tools, labor, and facilities, among other factors, when studying tradeoffs between carbon fiber and fiberglass.

"Today, many industries use composites," says Collier. "You read a lot about failure prediction and test certification, but I believe the fundamental issue has more to do with designing structures properly in the first place."

"For many engineers, a working knowledge of composite design and optimization will be an essential requirement for future product development," he adds. "If you really want organizations to be successful implementing composites, you are going to have to start making the process less complicated. This latest version of HyperSizer software is an important step in that direction."

The first-ever software commercialized out of NASA, HyperSizer is the flagship product of Collier Research Corporation. HyperSizer provides stress analysis and sizing optimization, reducing the weight of aircraft, space vehicles, wind turbine blades and other structures, whether designed with composite or metallic materials.

As an example of application of the software, the wing box structure of a commercial aircraft is illustrated with FE sizing zones in the graphic. HyperSizer software will size the stiffened wing cover to obtain optimum stiffener cross sections and detailed composite ply layup schedules.

The composite stiffener fabrication method is defined to ensure the optimum stiffener cross section will satisfy manufacturability requirements in addition to strength and stability requirements (left sub-image). Layup sequencing is performed at each ply boundary to obtain the detailed ply layup schedule for the skin. The software adopts industry-standard composite fabrication requirements, such as tool side continuous plies and interleaving dropped plies with continuous plies, to determine the ply drop joint configuration over the entire part surface (middle sub-image). The ply layup schedules are displayed in the graphics, and each ply is assigned a unique color. Plies are stacked on-top of one another with no gaps between local ply layers; this view (right sub-image) illustrates the relative thickness of each skin section.

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