Purdue-affiliated company, Purdue professor to build and test tool to create complex, tailorable composites
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Achieving affordable space exploration will require lightweight structures for vehicles, solar arrays and antennas. Lightweight materials will also be used for components of structures like pressurized habitats, cryogenic tanks, landing gears and truss cages.
The problem is that NASA envisions that many of those structures will be made from tailorable composite materials, but no design tool has been able to fully exploit the materials’ full potential. AnalySwift LLC, a Purdue-affiliated commercial software provider and Wenbin Yu, professor Purdue’s School of Aeronautics in Aeronautics and a Astronautics, are research to create one. Yu is the principal investigator. Liang Zhang of AnalySwift and Xin Liu of the University of Texas at Arlington are co-investigators.
Allan Wood, AnalySwift president and CEO, said that existing design tools were developed for traditional composites, which have straight fibers. If an open area is needed inside a traditional composite structure, this is often accomplished by creating a cut-out after it is manufactured, which can compromise the integrity of the structure.
“Tailorable composites, also known as tow-steered or variable thickness composites, however, can be highly customized thanks to improvements in manufacturing,” he said. “New robotic techniques can weave fibers around areas intended for openings, expanding design options while improving the structures’ overall properties.”
AnalySwift has received a one-year, $125,000 Phase I STTR contract from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for a project titled “An Efficient, High-Fidelity Design Tool for Advanced Tailorable Composites.”
Yu said the project will benefit NASA and related agencies and industries by exploiting the potential of tailorable composites for designing better lightweight structures.
“The resulting efficient, high-fidelity design tool developed in this project will shorten the design and analysis period of structures made of tailorable composites,” Yu said.
Wood said the design tool will have applications on Earth as well as in space, including aerospace, energy and wind, automotive, marine and other industries.
“The tool could also lead to improve designs for high-performance, tailorable structures like prosthetics, electronics and sporting goods with reduced design cost and time,” he said.
AnalySwift LLC is a provider of composite simulation software, which enables an elite combination of efficiency and accuracy, including multiphysics structural and micromechanics modeling. Drawing on cutting-edge university technology, AnalySwift’s powerful solutions save orders of magnitude in computing time without a loss of accuracy so users can consider more design options and arrive at the best solution more quickly. The technologies deliver the accuracy of detailed 3D FEA at the efficiency of simple engineering models, cutting analysis time by orders of magnitude. SwiftComp is licensed from Purdue Research Foundation. VABS is licensed from Utah State University, Purdue University, and Georgia Institute of Technology. Contact AnalySwift at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Writer: Steve Martin, email@example.com
Sources: Allan Wood, firstname.lastname@example.org
Wenbin Yu, email@example.com