Novel infusion techniques could have different implications than classical pre-preg technologies. To increase the robustness in the early design and subsequent certification phases of the component is a challenge. Confidence in this technology must be tackled with the analysis and development of new test methods.
The EU-funded SOFIA project will develop advanced test methods to evaluate the performance of innovative infusion techniques in finished aerospace components. Models will facilitate analytical characterisation of component behaviours and failure modes.
To comply with this task, the project is focused on three main levels:
- A presizing of the component as the initial phase to determine the expected failure modes (FM). This step is the basis to evaluate the behavior of the component under applied loads (combined loading state) and the definition of Level 2 and 3 tests
- Level 2 is the characterization of the FM. The first step is to define these expected mechanical FM that will be analyzed. This phase has a significant importance as the classical mechanisms of failure associated with the use of pre-pregs may be altered by the new infusion manufacturing process. The test plan definition, tooling design and manufacturing, mathematical approaches to be used, test execution and the correlation of the analytical results (developed FEM and / or mathematical laws to predict behavior) with real test results are the main tasks of this stage. This failure mode characterization is the basis for the definition of the behavior of the subcomponent for the next stage.
- Level 3 is the validation of the analytical characterization of the FM and the subcomponent global behaviour. Non-linear FEM with cohesive elements and virtual crack closure technique will be developed. The numerical predictions, the test plan definition, tooling design and manufacturing, test execution and the correlation of the expected results vs real test results, are the main tasks of this stage.
In addition to this project, if necessary, the topic manager will be offered the possibility for the manufacturing of complementary coupons at any stage of the project.