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Publication Detail
3D finite element simulation of non-crimp fabric composites ultrasonic testing
Composite materials offer many advantages for aerospace applications, e.g., good strength to weight ratio. Different types of composites, such as non-crimp fabrics (NCF), are currently being investigated as they offer reduced manufacturing costs and improved damage tolerance as compared to traditional pre-impregnated composite materials. NCF composites are made from stitched fiber bundles (tows), which typically have a width and thickness of less than a millimeter. This results in strongly inhomogeneous and anisotropic material properties. Different types of manufacturing imperfections, such as porosity, resin pockets, tow crimp and misalignment can lead to reduced material strength and thus to defects following excessive loads or impact, e.g., fracture and delaminations. The ultrasonic non-destructive testing of NCF composites is difficult, as the tow size is comparable to the wavelength, leading to multiple scattering in this inherently three-dimensional structure. For typical material properties and geometry of an NCF composite, a full three-dimensional Finite Element (FE) model has been developed in ABAQUS. The propagation of longitudinal ultrasonic waves has been simulated and the effect of multiple scattering at the fiber tows investigated. The influence of porosity in the epoxy matrix as a typical manufacturing defect on the ultrasonic wave propagation and attenuation has been studied. © 2012 American Institute of Physics.
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