In automated fibre placement (AFP) process, gaps and overlaps parallel to the fibre direction can be introduced between the adjoining tapes. These gaps and overlaps can cause a reduction in strength compared with pristine conditions. Finite element modelling is an effective way to understand how the size and distribution of such gaps and overlaps influences the strength and failure development. Many modelling work showed that out-of-plane waviness and ply thickness variations caused by gaps and overlaps play an important role in inducing the strength knock-down; however, there has been a lack of effective way to explicitly model the ply waviness, which constrained the relevant research. In this work, 3D meshing tools were developed to automatically generate ply-by-ply models with gaps and overlaps. Intra-ply and inter-ply cohesive elements are also automatically inserted in the model to capture the influence of splitting and delamination. Out-of-plane waviness and ply thickness variations caused by gaps and overlaps are automatically modelled. Models with various sizes and distribution of gaps and overlaps were built to predict the reduction of strength as a function of the magnitude and type of the defects. Results of gap and overlap models will be used to guide future experimental characterization of simulated AFP process defects, manufactured by hand layup from pre-preg tape.
- Composites UTC
- automated fibre placement