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Simulation Tool Predicts Composite Behavior and Failure

By DE Editors

Firehole Technologies, Inc. (Laramie, WY) has introduced version 3.0 of Helius:MCT, its simulation tool for analyzing and predicting the failure of composite structures. Helius:MCT, which uses advanced technology to determine damage initiation and predict damage propagation, replaces traditional first-ply failure analysis technologies with a multiscale approach that is said to be efficient and easy to adopt as an extension to your Abaqus or ANSYS finite element analysis environment.

Simulation Tool Predicts Composite Behavior and Failure
Helius:MCT screen image courtesy of Aerotonomy, Inc.

Key among the new features introduced in Helius:MCT 3.0 is functionality for modeling woven composite structures. Firehole says that its new woven composite functionality uses what is known as three-constituent multicontinuum theory (MCT). The MCT approach allows you to extract volume average constituent—that is, fiber and matrix constituents—stresses from homogenized composite stresses. This, in turn, enables you to evaluate the failure of each constituent. When it detects a failure, Helius:MCT degrades the elastic properties of the failed constituent and, correspondingly, degrades the composite elastic properties appropriately.

In version 3.0, Helius:MCT now offers the ability to calculate residual stresses from thermal loading and to include the effects of cure stress for unidirectional composites. Helius:MCT 3.0 also provides automatic calculation of element stiffness parameters, which is said to generate models faster than earlier versions, and, for Abaqus users, it provides automatic calculation of extraneous stiffness parameters.

Helius:MCT offers such standard capabilities as the ability to capture pressure-induced strengthening and the ability to include material nonlinearity for both pre- and post-failure regimes. The software couples with fracture mechanics-based approaches for delamination predictions, and it supports a wide variety of 2D and 3D elements. Results are said to be easy to interpret.

"Firehole’s Helius:MCT was able to rapidly and accurately predict the structural performance of our complex composite airframe—manufactured from both unidirectional and woven composites—while identifying several inconspicuous structural problem spots,” said Nicholas Alley, chief technical officer for aerospace research and manufacturing company Aerotonomy Inc. (Lithia Springs, GA)  in a statement supplied to Desktop Engineering. “The superior analysis allowed us to quickly integrate solutions into our design process, which literally saved hundreds of design man hours by giving us the confidence to utilize a less complex and lighter design."

Helius:MCT comes with a material library populated with multiple sets of composite lamina material properties fully characterized for a Helius:MCT analysis and the Helius Material Manager, which provides a GUI for creating a material file required to execute a Helius:MCT analysis. Version 3.0 supports 32- and 64-bit versions of Abaqus 6.8-1, Abaqus 6.8-1-EF, and Abaqus 6.9-1 as well as the 32- and 64-bit versions of ANSYS 12. For complete details go to the Helius:MCT page on the Firehole Technologies website.

View a demo of Helius:MCT 3.0.

Sign up for a complimentary 30-day evaluation of Helius:MCT.

Download a tech brief on woven composite analysis in Helius:MCT 3.0.

Download the Helius:MCT 3.0 brochure.

See why DE’s Editors selected Helius:MCT 3.0 as their Pick of the Week.

About DE Editors

DE's editors contribute news and new product announcements to Desktop Engineering. Press releases can be sent to them via DE-Editors@deskeng.com.