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Editor’s Pick: Composites Optimizer Self-Configures to Loading Environment

Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:

You know the famous quote from Arthur C. Clarke: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” I believe composites are magic. Yes, I get the big picture: strong + lightweight + to spec for the job = good in all sorts of ways. But all that granular, hands-on design, analysis, and optimization stuff involving like materials, plys, layup ply angles, and sequence composite laminates, soon fevers my brow. All I know is that I do not want to board an airplane in which the engineers who did the composite work had a similar reaction. So, why is it that composite design, analysis, and optimization software seems to have been coded to stress out users?

This seems to be the question asked by the humans at Collier Research and taken on in their newest version of HyperSizer software, 6.4.5. Now, Collier Research specializes in engineering software for the aerospace industry. HyperSizer is for designing, analyzing, and optimizing composite and metallic structures and, I’m told, it happens to be the first software out of NASA to be commercialized.

The overview is that HyperSizer’s stress analyses and sizing optimization capabilities are intended to help you reduce the weight of an aircraft, a wind turbine blade, or similar structures. It works with major engineering systems like Abaqus, ANSYS, CATIA, Femap, Nastran, Patran, and PTC Creo, and it helps you obtain optimized and manufacturable designs while eliminating manual calculations, offline spreadsheets, and model remeshing. Its goal is preventing surprise design snags while controlling weight growth as your design matures. The latter I could use as my body design ripens with age.

So you’re talking about a CAE toolset that enables you to calculate critical failure modes, reduce structural weight, and sequence composite laminates for fabrication. You can use HyperSizer throughout the design process from preliminary design to test data validation to final analysis to certification. Its margins of safety calculations automate many industry standard failure analyses, and its stress report documentation for all failure modes includes the analysis methods and calculations that the FAA requires for airworthiness certification.

OK, there’s a lot of nitty-gritty more, but you get the picture, so on to version 6.4.5. Lot’s going on here and you can read more in today’s Pick of the Week write-up, but the key is Collier Research says it reconfigured HyperSizer’s core technology with built-in “intelligence” that produces more accurate answers with less user input and runs much faster than ever. “Intelligence” means that HyperSizer 6.4.5 can self-configure. That means that it takes your load magnitude and automatically configures itself to do a pre-setup of the proper optimization parameters, which, in turn, returns you consistent results while eliminating a ton of user interaction.

Faster comes in a few forms, including leveraging HPC (high-performance computing) for speedier overall performance. HyperSizer now offers optional quick sizing and variable tuning capabilities. A new FEA load extraction method for projects with many load cases filters out critical load cases based on their magnitudes and not on any failure mode analyses.

All of that aside, what really struck me about HyperSizer 6.4.5 when the announcement came across the bitstream was what the company’s honcho had to say. After noting that understanding how to work with composites is a vital skill that engineers need for future product development, he added that to be successful the composite design, analysis, and optimization software they rely on has to be easier to use. That is what Collier Research is trying to do here with HyperSizer 6.4.5. Give today’s Pick of the Week write-up a read then check out some of the videos linked at the end to learn more.

Thanks, Pal. — Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering

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About Anthony J. Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood is Desktop Engineering's Editor-at-Large. Contact him via de-editors@deskeng.com.