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Effect of Manufacturing on the Transverse Response of Thermoset Composites



This study presents a finite element (FE) based virtual test procedure to investigate the effect of the manufacturing process on the transverse composite response. Computational models of the composite microstructures are generated and analyzed in commercial FE solver Abaqus supplemented by user-written subroutines. Several realizations of the composite microstructure with random fiber arrangement are analyzed assuming appropriate initial stress state and material definitions. The virtual test procedure is established to define the evolution of process-induced in-situ matrix properties through direct and inverse process modeling approaches. Subsequently, the composite microstructures are virtually tested in transverse tension to predict the transverse composite properties by implementing progressive damage models. In order to quantify the effect of manufacturing on the transverse composite response, predictions from the two approaches are compared to a third case which assumes an initial stress-free state and neglects the effect of processing conditions on the in-situ matrix properties. Variations of ±5% in average strength and 18% in standard deviations are observed with respect to ideally cured RVEs. It is established that process modeling in necessary to optimize the residual stress state and improve composite performance.


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