Integrated method for process planning and structural design in composite structures

The project’s research hypothesis is that, with an adjusted method, it is possible to develop lightweight structures out of fiber composite material to not only reach low mass properties but also to be efficiently manufacturable. As a consequence, high engineering and production costs compared to metal designs can be reduced.

The objective is to develop and evaluate a method for the automated design of high-performance fiber composite structures and their efficient production. This comprises structural design, production planning and their interaction. The quality of a solution is determined by structural criteria (mass) as well as production criteria (production cost). Compared to conventional methods, an early consideration of production aspects prevents cost-intensive iterations in later stages of the development process. Conventional methods can only select a limited amount of solutions in the concept phase since all of them are to be fully developed in the following development steps. This method, however, is able to consider a higher number of solutions that differ in structural and production aspects. The overall development effort can be limited by gradually proceeding through the design of all solutions in parallel. In the course of this process the complexity of applied design and assessment methods is increased while the number of considered solutions is decreased. Therefore, complex methods are only used for a smaller number of solutions that qualified in preceding selections.

As an application example the development of an aircraft fuselage structure made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) is chosen, since it has extreme requirements that can only be met in an optimum way by using an approach with strong interaction of both disciplines.

The research is based on achievements of an interdisciplinary cooperation of the institutes in the field of high performance production of CFRP-structures practiced since 2010.

Funding: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)

Duration: 2015-2018


Dr. Carsten Schmidt