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Numerical Simulation with Experimental Validation of the Draping Behavior of Woven Fabrics

WILLIAM R. RODGERS, PRAVEEN PASUPULETI, SELINA ZHAO, TERRY WATHEN, MARK DOROUDIAN, VENKAT AITHARAJU

Abstract


Woven fabric composites are extensively used in molding complex geometrical shapes due to their high conformability compared to other fabrics. Preforming is an important step in the overall process. In this step, the two-dimensional fabric is draped to become the three-dimensional shape of the part prior to resin injection. During preforming, the orientation of the tows may change significantly compared to the initial orientations. Accurate prediction of the tow orientations after molding is important for evaluating the structural performance of the final part. This paper investigates the fiber angle changes for carbon fiber woven fabrics during draping over a truncated pyramid tool designed and fabricated at the General Motors Research Labs. This aspect of study is a subset of the broad study conducted under the purview of a Department of Energy project funded to GM in developing state of the art computational tools for integrated manufacturing and structural performance prediction of carbon fiber composites. Fabric bending, picture frame testing, and bias-extension evaluations were carried out to determine the material parameters for these fabrics. The PAM-FORM computer program was used to model the draping behavior of these fabrics. Following deformation, fiber angle changes at different locations on the truncated pyramid were measured experimentally. The predicted angles matched the experimental results well as measured along the centerline and at several different locations on the deformed fabric. Details of the test methods used as well as the numerical results with various simulation parameters will be provided.

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