Development and validation of a CAE chain for unidirectional fibre reinforced composite components
Current development of composite components made by Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM) requires numerous manual iteration steps to find the optimal design in conjunction with optimal process control. Still, such components are often highly oversized since the real material behaviour is influenced by the processing history and cannot be sufficiently predicted by simulations. The draping process is the predominating process for the fibre alignments, resulting in varying fibre orientations and local draping effects. These material characteristics influence the moulding process as well as the mechanical performance and need to be considered for sizing and virtual validation of RTM structures. Therefore, a continuous virtual process chain (CAE chain) is developed in this work, where geometry and material data are transferred between the finite element models by using a neutral exchange format and mapping algorithms. The CAE chain is applied and validated by a complexly curved RTM part. To demonstrate the benefit of the CAE chain, a reference model is used, where the fibre orientations are simply projected to the component's surface. For experimental validation, the simulation results are compared to pressure and temperature measurements in the case of moulding simulation, and to tension and bending tests in the case of structural simulation.