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Fast simulation tools for predicting consolidation-induced defects in large-scale aerospace components


Faculty of Engineering

Bristol United Kingdom Aerospace Engineering

About the Project

The Engineering Doctorate (EngD) in Composites Manufacture is a four-year doctorate programme for researchers who aspire to key leadership positions in industry.

Project Background

The challenge presented to Manufacturing Engineering is to deliver an industrial solution to produce composite structures consistently and at the desired rate and cost targets. However, for new processes, manufacturing capability information may not be fully available or understood at the concept stage, which could lead to expensive, late design changes, material and process mitigations.

Composite materials have found a widespread application in modern aircrafts. One of the major impediments for greater uptake of composite is the speed at which the pre-impregnated material is additively deposited (often by hand) on a ply-by-ply basis and that leads to high manufacturing costs. This has motivated the development of automated manufacturing methods (such as Automated Fibre Placement - AFP) that, although helping to drastically accelerate throughput, deviations from ideal design lead to knockdown of the structural properties of the manufactured parts.

 Project Aims and Objectives

The aim of this project is to build a simulation tool that can predict the “as-manufactured” ply architecture of large-scale composites parts deposited by AFP and then cured/consolidated in an autoclave. The numerical framework should, in particular, be able to predict final part thickness, fibre volume fraction, ply waviness and residual stress-induced shape distortion. This would provide the basis for more robust part design that accounts for manufacturing constraints.

The candidate will work with a team of engineers as part of the Stelia Aerospace ECHOS2 development programme. The student will spend most of their time at the University of Bristol with regular visits to Stelia in Toulouse (France).


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