SEP 2018


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SEPTEMBER 2018 8 CompositesWorld DESIGN & TESTING ยป Effective use of fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composites in structural automotive applications offers enormous potential for cost savings, mass reduction and improvement in part performance. Although much attention has been focused on material costs and development of high-rate, automated manufacturing processes, production of a viable product depends on the ability to design and simulate the structures for these exciting new FRP applications. Enabling cost-effective development Design and simulation programs rely on representative material character- istic data to generate capable solutions. is comprehensive data set is fed into the engineers' design software via the "material card." To achieve an accept- able level of modeling predictability, the amount and fidelity of the material card's data must be in line with the level of complexity of each design exercise. Without valid material card data, a given material/process combination cannot be modeled and, therefore, parts/ systems cannot be designed that incorpo- rate those materials and processes. Many test standards exist to charac- terize a given material's performance in tensile, compressive, shear and bending modes (e.g., ASTM/DIN/ISO/EN protocols). Selecting, conducting and interpreting results from these standard test methods to generate consistent and usable data for FRP appli- cations has been a challenge for the automotive industry. A big reason is that automotive materials suppliers are often focused only on Tech Data sheets and are insensitive to the importance of material data cards. Tier suppliers who do initiate their devel- opment tend not to share test results. e result is a lack of suffi- ciently broadly applicable standardized material card data for automotive applications, which presents barriers to adoption of FRP composites at the OEM level. is issue prompted Forward Engineering, together with industry partners Hexion (Columbus, OH, US) and Zoltek (St. Louis, MO, US), to initiate a program to organize testing procedures and develop a set of best practices and methodology for translating test results into material card formats that are compatible with Overcoming barriers to adoption of structural autocomposites commercially available simulation solver programs. Since the launch of this program in 2017, participants have been able to accelerate their FRP part development, reducing program costs as well as providing visibility to material testing budget and timing requirements for the evaluation of new materials and processes. Modular testing program e team's objective was to develop a flexible platform that was cost-effective and scalable. us, the new testing program was structured to be modular (Fig. 1). e modules required to support each application's design program are dictated by where a given material will be employed on the vehicle and by what job(s) the material needs to perform (e.g., it might need to provide the part's dynamic stiffness or absorb crash energy during a front- end impact). In some cases, a proxy material (that is, a material that, depending on the application, could deliver a reasonable FIG. 1 Modular material data card development pyramid. FIG. 2 The additional fidelity provided by Module 2b supports accurate modeling of larger, more complex subsystems, such as front-end modules or crush zones. The improved correlation between sample testing and modeling results can be seen in this graph.

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