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Editor’s Pick: Simulation Tool Predicts Composite Behavior and Failure

By Anthony J. Lockwood

Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:

Composites. In the 1967 movie, “The Graduate,” Mr. McGuire has a one-word message for Ben, the lost young man played by Dustin Hoffman: “plastics.” If I were to remake that movie today, not only would I rename the lost young soul after me as an inside joke about my misspent life, I would change that one word to “composites” because there is a great future in composites.

Composite materials are all around us. And why not? They can offer terrific structural strength and stiffness compared to their weight. They are very fungible, so designers can be innovative to the edge of their imaginations. Composites can be inexpensive, common, simple, or exotic, and they are flexible and generally easy to manufacture. Of course, all these variables also mean that composite materials challenge designers with endlessly thorny questions about how materials will respond to, say, tension, thermal events, and other real-world dynamic phenomena. Dealing with the potential gains and pitfalls of composite analysis is what Helius:MCT, just out in version 3.0, is all about.

The skinny on Helius:MCT is that it is a composite damage analysis solution package that uses advanced technology to help you determine where damage begins and predict how damage propagates through your materials and thus leads to failure. The head-turning characteristic of Helius:MCT is that rather than work with composite lamina as a solid lump of material with uniform properties, it analyzes stresses and strains at the fiber and matrix levels. This multiscale approach lets you optimize the properties of your plies—materials, thickness, and so forth—and obtain reliable and accurate results from which you can make better predictions on how damage from stress and strain evolves.

Helius:MCT is easy to use, efficient, and couples with fracture mechanics-based approaches for delamination predictions. It seamlessly integrates with Abacus and ANSYS, and Helius:MCT comes with a materials library filled with multiple sets of composite lamina material properties.

Version 3.0 has been enhanced with failure predictions for woven composites, the ability to include the effects of cure stress for unidirectional composites, and automatic features such as the calculation of element-stiffness parameters. You can learn more about Helius:MCT and what’s new in version 3.0 from today’s Pick of the Week write-up. Check out the link to the registration-free video (no audio—just in case you think you have a computer problem). There’s a link as well for a 30-day evaluation and additional registration-free information that you can download.

Composites are the materials upon which engineers like you are building the future right now. Helius:MCT is a powerful, efficient, and flexible tool that can help you make that future reality. Good stuff. Highly recommended that you learn more about it.

Thanks, Pal. — Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering

Read today’s Pick of the Week write-up.

About Anthony J. Lockwood

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