Maximising the benefits of using composites requires access to in-depth knowledge of composites attributes, performance and the means to leverage them in a cost-effective manner. We offer a full design and analysis service for composite structures of any size and complexity. From advanced sporting goods to land transport and aircraft components, we have the skills and experience necessary to design high-performance, innovative composite structures.
The use of simulation software, coupled with experimental testing and validation, significantly reduces the time and cost of the development process when compared with trial-and-error iterations and a production of series of prototypes. We can produce full-scale demonstrator articles in-house and conduct characterization and structure testing through partner research organizations.
We use the latest generation Finite Element Analysis (FEA) software and solid-modelling CAD systems, develop code in-house, and integrate comprehensive knowledge of composites mechanics and manufacturing processes into our simulation work.
Our clients benefit from our detailed understanding of the manufacturer and end-user requirements to optimise products for performance, manufacturability, operation and cost. Design and Analysis may just be a part of your project; we can also bring the development to manufacture, including training of personnel.
Our specialised expertise in composites optimisation, conceptual design, flow visualisation, impact and fire behaviour modelling has given a number of clients a competitive edge.
Case Study : Impact Modelling
Composite materials are well-recognised as having unique energy absorbing properties. Taking advantage of these properties, or ensuring that impact events do not compromise structural integrity, requires considerable depth in understanding of these high-speed events.
ACS Australia’s personnel have not only concentrated on using the latest modelling techniques for accurate impact prediction, but also on accurate characterisation of material behaviour. A suite of characterisation tests developed in-house has minimised the number of assumptions required and provided a high level of model validation.
We apply this approach to entire composite structures (including fasteners and adhesives), and leverage our extensive knowledge in failure of composites components and assemblies to generate unusually high-accuracy predictions, in applications from aircraft bird strike to automotive energy absorption systems. This knowledge is being further developed, to enable the design and implementation of life-saving crash management systems for helicopters.
Case Study : Bus Conceptual Design
To reduce operating costs and maintain competitiveness, bus manufacturers are aiming to reduce weight significantly. Composite materials offer the potential for significant savings.
Conceptual designs for a composite bus were commissioned by an Australian bus company, which also included weight estimates, cost estimates and identification of potential manufacturing partners.
Various concepts were investigated for the introduction of composite materials into bus construction. They included the selective replacement of metal body parts with composite parts, through to a full composite monocoque body. Structural features such as composite-to-composite and composite-to-metal joints were detailed. Appropriate manufacturing techniques were identified along with potential suppliers. Weight savings and the cost of implementation of the different concepts were estimated.
Case Study: Reverse Engineering F-111 Aircraft Panel
Ageing metal & honeycomb panels in F-111 aircraft suffer from degradation. Metal replacements are no longer available and hence, a suite of tools and capabilities were needed to replace existing metal panels with advanced composite panels.
An equivalent functionality approach was adopted with reverse engineering used to determine critical loads. Honeycomb core was replaced with integral stiffening. Low cost tooling was manufactured using surface replication via photogrammetry. Low temperature prepreg was used to manufacture the panel. Validation was confirmed with cold proof load testing of a panel on an F-111.
The developed solution enables extension of aircraft life. Design, repair and rapid manufacturing capabilities are broadly applicable to repair design and implementation, and rapid manufacture of highly loaded composite structures.
- Premlinary Design
- • Conceptual design studies.
- • Design feasibility studies.
- • Automated layup prediction - Ply orientation automatically calculated in complex structures allowing automated design of components.
- • Tow visualisation modelling – Visualisation of fabrics “as manufactured” into composites using computerized tomography; translation of geometries into finite element analysis models to provide direct information on manufacturing-related performance changes.
- • Micromechanics modelling – Investigation of effects including tow geometry, stitching and Z-pinning in composites, providing increased performance prediction accuracy.
- • Thermo-mechanical and viscoelastic models of the behaviour of cured and uncured resins in composites, modelling of high-temperature strain behaviour, forming behaviour, cure distortion prediction and failure theories.
- • Advanced programming (MathCAD, PCL, Python, Fortran).
- • User subroutine development (Abaqus, MSC.Marc).
- • Automation of design tools.
- Component Design
- • Design of composite structures including highly loaded structures.
- • Bonded joint design including high strain rate response and metal to composite joints.
- • Fastened joint design including high strain rate response.
- • Design of composite energy absorbers.
- • Optimisation of composite structures.
- • Design of post-buckled structures and damage tolerant structures.
- • Reverse engineered components.
- Manufacturing Design and Analysis
- • Design for manufacture.
- • Ply stack optimisation.
- • Tooling design (autoclave, RTM, pultrusion, etc), including heating strategy optimisation (electrical, oil, oven, autoclave, etc).
- • Flow visualisation of RTM, infusion and injection pultrusion processes.
- • Thermo-mechanical analysis of composite structures.
- • Liquid moulding design and optimisation.
- • Tooling design.
- Analysis for In-service Operation
- • Impact damage simulation including bird-strike and crash analysis.
- • Vibration analysis.
- • Assessment of residual strength of composites with defects and damage.
- • Failure prediction for composites, fastened composites and adhesives.
- • New-generation fire simulation capability, including prediction of structure survival times during fire.
- Testing and Validation
- • Material characterisation for mechanical, thermal and viscoelastic properties.
- • Fatigue, impact, creep, multi-axial and other structural and performance testing of large and small components.
- • Manufacture of large, full scale prototypes.