The analysis of composites and other heterogeneous materials is complex for a number of known and very well-documented reasons.
Multiscale modeling is a broadly used term to describe any situation where a physical problem is solved by capturing a system's behavior and important features at multiple scales, particularly multiple spatial and/or temporal scales. Applications for multiscale analysis include fluid flow analysis, weather prediction, operations research, and structural analysis, to name a few.
Image courtesy of Fortify
MultiMechanics and Fortify, a Boston-based additive manufacturing company specialized in composite material systems, have announced a strategic partnership to improve the predictability of composite 3D printing. As part of the partnership, Fortify will use MultiMechanics' flagship product, MultiMech, to predict the structural integrity of printed parts before printing, and to help optimize the design by controlling the fiber orientation throughout the structure. Additionally, R&D will be performed to further enhance Fortify's print analysis software, INFORMTM, and generate more sophisticated microstructures using their FluxprintTM process based on microstructure analyses performed in MultiMech.
MultiMechanics is excited to announce the release of MultiMech 18.1. The new features added will deliver improved ease of use, faster speed, and more simulation capabilities, including:
What is considered to be a "composite" is always changing. Just as there is no single definition, there is also no single analytical method that can safely predict their dynamic behavior. Just as you cannot obtain ideal performance by using a single material throughout an entire car, you can't expect to use a single analytical method to predict the behavior of all composites.
Microstructural modeling is often viewed as an extraneous activity when analyzing the behavior of composites. Many engineers use the "system" properties as the inputs for their part design without considering what contributes to that overall system response.
Many companies that develop new composite materials are surprised when their product does not perform as expected during the physical testing and certification process. In addition to the many years wasted on developing the material, companies often spend more than $50M on developing and testing a single new material concept.
Failure in engineered materials is extremely difficult. In composites, damage originates at the microscale and is then propagated to the global scale. While Finite Element Analysis is a powerful tool, it is limited to the global scale because the mesh refinement needed to get down to the microscale is not feasible in FE programs. At MultiMechanics, we consider this to be a true multiscale problem, since damage at the microscale needs to be assessed and relayed to the macroscale.
Improving efficiency, lowering emissions, and decreasing fuel consumption are global trends that are currently transforming the transportation industry. Lightweighting by replacing metal components with lighter composite materials is one approach to achieving these goals. However, as structural designs have become more complex and demanding, new composite material development has struggled to keep up, thus slowing the adoption of lightweighting.