The paper proposes a mixed strain- and stress-based topology optimization method for designing the ideal geometry of carbon fibers in composite laminates subjected to either applied tractions or prescribed displacements. On the basis of standard micromechanical approaches, analytical elastic solutions for a single cell, assumed to be a Representative Volume Element (RVE), are ad hoc constructed by involving anisotropy induced by fiber orientation and volume fraction, also taking into account inter-laminar stresses and strains. The analytical solutions are then implemented in a Finite Element (FE) custom-made topology optimization-based procedure rewritten to have as output the best curves the reinforcing fibers have to draw in any composite laminate layer to maximize the overall panel stiffness or to minimize the elastic energy. To verify the effectiveness of the proposed strategy, different structures undergoing either in-plane or out-plane boundary conditions have been selected and theoretically investigated, determining the optimal fibers’ maps and showing the related results in comparison to standard sequences of alternate fibers disposition for the same composites. Two optimized panels were at the end actually produced using an innovative Automated Fiber Placement (AFP) machine and consolidating the materials by means of autoclave curing processes, in this way replicating the fiber paths obtained from theoretical outcomes. As a control, two corresponding composite structures were also built without employing the fiber optimization strategy. The panels have been tested in laboratory and the theoretical results have been compared with the experimental findings, showing a very good agreement with our predictions and confirming the capability of the proposed algorithm in suggesting the arrangement of the fibers to obtain enhanced mechanical performances. It is felt that the hybrid analytical-FE topology optimization strategy, in conjunction with the possibilities offered by AFP devices, could pave the way for a new generation of ultra-lightweight composites for aerospace, automotive and many industrial applications.

Topology optimization-guided stiffening of composites realized through Automated Fiber Placement

Cutolo, Arsenio;Barile, Marco;Lecce, Leonardo;Mensitieri, Giuseppe;Sacco, Elio;Fraldi, Massimiliano
2019

Abstract

The paper proposes a mixed strain- and stress-based topology optimization method for designing the ideal geometry of carbon fibers in composite laminates subjected to either applied tractions or prescribed displacements. On the basis of standard micromechanical approaches, analytical elastic solutions for a single cell, assumed to be a Representative Volume Element (RVE), are ad hoc constructed by involving anisotropy induced by fiber orientation and volume fraction, also taking into account inter-laminar stresses and strains. The analytical solutions are then implemented in a Finite Element (FE) custom-made topology optimization-based procedure rewritten to have as output the best curves the reinforcing fibers have to draw in any composite laminate layer to maximize the overall panel stiffness or to minimize the elastic energy. To verify the effectiveness of the proposed strategy, different structures undergoing either in-plane or out-plane boundary conditions have been selected and theoretically investigated, determining the optimal fibers’ maps and showing the related results in comparison to standard sequences of alternate fibers disposition for the same composites. Two optimized panels were at the end actually produced using an innovative Automated Fiber Placement (AFP) machine and consolidating the materials by means of autoclave curing processes, in this way replicating the fiber paths obtained from theoretical outcomes. As a control, two corresponding composite structures were also built without employing the fiber optimization strategy. The panels have been tested in laboratory and the theoretical results have been compared with the experimental findings, showing a very good agreement with our predictions and confirming the capability of the proposed algorithm in suggesting the arrangement of the fibers to obtain enhanced mechanical performances. It is felt that the hybrid analytical-FE topology optimization strategy, in conjunction with the possibilities offered by AFP devices, could pave the way for a new generation of ultra-lightweight composites for aerospace, automotive and many industrial applications.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11588/752000
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