Advanced Design and Life Prediction Methodolgy for Polymeric Matrix Composite Components

Period of Performance: 01/07/2009 - 10/07/2009


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Performance Polymer Solutions, Inc.
2711 Lance Drive
Moraine, OH 45409
Principal Investigator


This Phase I SBIR program will directly address the critical need for a high fidelity physics-based methodology for design and service life prediction of polymer matrix composite structures in regimes (stress, strain, and environment) that lead to highly nonlinear behavior. Composite materials for elevated temperature service in particular are subject to chemical aging, physical aging, and moisture absorption, all of which degrade their performance and are highly coupled in their effect on the composite s mechanical response. This is the motivation for a modeling and analysis approach that can correctly and comprehensively represent these coupled effects. Testing for actual environmental and mechanical stresses over actual airframe and propulsion lifetimes is impractical in the best of cases and impossible in most cases. Lifetimes for commercial and military aircraft are on the order of 50 years and tens of thousands of flight hours in a wide variety of climates and mechanical loading environments. Thus, there is tremendous motivation to model the effects of composite material degradation in service to optimize composite structures and for reliable life prediction. This SBIR will develop and validate a design and service life prediction methodology for polyimide matrix composite structures in aggressive service environments. BENEFIT: The design tools will be developed for composite materials design applications where customers are motivated by a need for reduced design cycle time, certification through design tools, and material qualification tools. There is a critical need to dramatically reduce the cost and time associated with composite materials design, certification, and materials qualifications through tools not testing for domestic manufacturers to remain globally competitive. We have partnered with a commercial and defense aerospace prime contractor to validate our nonlinear viscoelastic thermodynamically based constitutive model through their structural design and analysis tools. This validation will provide tremendous confidence in our approach at the structure level. The approach has the potential to revolutionize design and life prediction for composite materials. The state-of-the-art relies heavily on extensive mechanical property characterize, which is both expensive and time-consuming. Our approach, validated by an aerospace prime contractor, will be available as a material module add-on to standard FEA solvers, it will not be imbedded within any proprietary code or design software tools. This approach ensures the widest commercial distribution of the technology through the transportation, manufacturing, and industrial markets.