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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A three-phase integrated flow-stress framework for process modelling of composite materials Amini Niaki, Sina


An accurate and efficient predictive tool for process modelling of fibre-reinforced polymeric composite materials is highly desirable because of high production cost and substantial risk involved in their manufacturing. Process modelling of composite materials is complex due to multitude of physical and chemical processes such as flow of resin and gaseous volatiles through the fibre-bed, thermochemical changes, and stress development. These phenomena are usually simulated sequentially in a so-called “integrated sub-model” framework. In the sequential method, (i) mapping of the results from one state to another is performed in a tedious and inefficient process, (ii) the concurrent occurrence of resin flow and stress development is ignored, (iii) the history of pressure during the flow regime of processing is relinquished, and (iv) the local spatial and temporal variations in resin gelation is not captured. Incorporating the main steps of process modeling into a unified module that captures the various phenomena in a continuous manner would help overcome the foregoing drawbacks of the sequential approach. In this thesis, a new methodology is presented to integrate the simulation of resin and gas flow and stress development into a unified computational modelling framework. The governing equations are developed for the general case of a composite system that initially is regarded as a three-phase liquid-gas-solid system and, as a consequence of curing, the resin undergoes a transition from a fluid-like state into an elastic solid forming a solid cured composite material. The employed constitutive equations provide a continuous representation of the evolving material behaviour while maintaining consistency with the formulations that are typically used to represent the material at each of the two processing extremes. The model is implemented in a 2D plane strain displacement-velocity-pressure (u-v-P) finite element code developed in MATLAB. Various numerical examples are presented to demonstrate the capability of the Integrated Flow-Stress (IFS) model to predict the flow-compaction and stress development throughout the curing process of thermoset composite materials. The interactive effects of resin flow, gas flow, and stress development are investigated and comparisons are made with the predicted results obtained from the application of the stress model alone.

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