This simulation tool is designed for progressive failure simulation in composite laminates. It provides accurate results equivalent to those of a high-fidelity model without the associated cost and time. In doing this, the tool will generate more rapid results compared to high-fidelity modeling, be a viable evaluation method for industry, and allow for consideration of more complex problems that exceed the capability of currently available simulation methods.

The simulation tool is in the form of a subroutine for an enriched finite element. A user would create a numerical model with the enriched element in an initially low-fidelity form. The enriched elements then have the ability to increase fidelity locally to suit an ongoing damage process if necessary.

The simulation combines existing fracture mechanics-based damage propagation techniques with a discrete approach to modeling discontinuities in finite elements. Additionally, the use of an advanced laminate theory recovers deformation and stress information that would normally require a high-fidelity model.

To accomplish this, the same theoretic and analytical concepts that a high-fidelity numerical simulation tool utilizes for laminate damage simulation are placed in the context of a low-fidelity finite element. In taking this approach, a laminate can be modeled as a single-layer, low-fidelity shell mesh that has the ability to locally increase fidelity and represent a delamination-based damage process but only if it is determined that one should occur.

NASA is actively seeking licensees to commercialize this technology. Please contact NASA’s Licensing Concierge at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call us at 202-358-7432 to initiate licensing discussions. Follow this link here  for more information.


Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the February, 2021 issue of Tech Briefs Magazine.

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