Various 3D woven composites have been studied and used in last several decades. It was demonstrated that these composites can have better delamination and impact resistance than conventional laminates. However, most of the 3D woven reinforcements have fibres only in two directions, warp and weft, because of weaving manufacturing constraints. This makes properties of 3D woven composites sub-optimal for most of the practical load cases. Relaxing manufacturing constraints and optimising 3D fibre architectures for more complex load cases requires new numerical meso-scale optimisation framework as well as novel manufacturing techniques to implement optimised fibre architectures.
This paper presents a numerical optimisation framework which employs TexGen modelling schema and links the meso-scale unit cell properties with the macro-scale response of a composite part. The framework is applied to a vehicle floor panel for demonstration purposes. It is shown that multi-axial 3D preforms can give up to 30% weight-saving compared to aluminium parts and outperform parts made from non-crimp fabric by about 10%. Initial development of manufacturing techniques for mutli-axial 3D preforms is presented as well.
Matveev, M., Long, A., & Brown, L. (2019). Meso-scale optimisation of 3D composites and novel preforming technologies