Novel Multi-scale/Multi-physics Integrated Tool for the Prediction of Manufacturing-Induced Defects in Autoclave Composite Airframe Parts

Period of Performance: 05/28/2015 - 11/16/2015


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Technical Data Analysis, Inc.
3190 Fairview Park Drive Array
Falls Church, VA 22042
Firm POC
Principal Investigator

Research Institution

Missouri University of Science & Technology
300 W. 12th Street
Rolla, MO 65409
Institution POC


Composite materials have emerged as the materials of choice for increasing the performance and reducing the weight and cost of military aircraft. Nevertheless, manufacture of composite parts still poses numerous difficulties which can result in premature curing, degradation in thin cross-sections, incomplete curing in thick counterparts or build-up of internal stresses. Experimental investigations of the cure and rheology of the composites can be effective for understanding how a manufacturing process can result in the highest quality components. This empirical approach can be very complex to set-up and time consuming to execute. Numerical modeling and simulations are much more cost effective alternatives to in-situ empirical trials for such processes.In this STTR effort, TDAs team and its university partner, Missouri University of Science and Technology (Prof. K. Chandrashekhara) will be focusing on building a virtual autoclave which will (a) ease the burden of experiments, (b) provide the evolution of volumetric changes, residual stresses and process-induced distortions and (c) include advanced optimization features. The required analytical solutions are developed in the framework of finite element model by suitable micromechanical computations and stochastic methodologies. Lessons learned in the laboratory will be used to model manufacturing defects in a virtual environment.