Simulation of Small-Scale Damage Evolution During Processing of Polymer Matrix Materials Systems
ABSTRACT: Addressing the problem of reliable prediction of the mechanical properties and durability of polymer composites, UES Inc. proposes developing multiple alternative commercially marketable computational tool that calculates macroscopic material properties based on chemical composition of matrix and filler, geometry of the filler, and manufacturing conditions. The calculations will be validated by available experimental results and existing computational solutions. This new modeling approach will greatly reduce the need for experimental input and include no empirical relationships or fitting parameters. The models will account for structural inhomogeneities and internal stresses that arise in the composite during manufacturing process; capture the effect of various manufacturing conditions and be able to suggest the most optimal manufacturing regime. The outcome of the models will be a set of numerical solutions that can be interfaced with commercial FEA software for accurate prediction of mechanical properties, fatigue lifetime, material aging and degradation, including the performance of parts with complicated geometry such as notches. The work accomplished under Phase I will test the fidelity of the new approaches and demonstrate the influence of interphase properties on macroscopic mechanical properties of composite materials. BENEFIT: The market for the modeling software that would target the specific properties of polymer composites is increasing, based on the growing number of composite materials being researched for DoD and commercial applications. There is large demand for the software that is able to predict damage evolution and the life for the composite based on the composition and processing technology, especially in aerospace and defense design which will be our primary target market. If UES can develop effective and useful software that will integrate with existing FEA packages, the estimated market for the final product is $3M in a five years following completion of Phase III.
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