Composite Optimization

7th March 2016


The design of composite structures involves the definition of the ply angles, numbers of plies, and stacking sequence for the given laminate. Given the large number of potential variables, designs are usually limited to standard sets of design configurations based on experience and available test data. There is potential for laminated composite structures that have increased performance and reduced weight by utilizing optimization methods to find the best combination of variables for a given application.

Composite Optimisation Process
The virtual simulation process to design optimized composite materials includes a number of defined stages. Firstly, topology or freeform optimization is conducted to define the concept geometry. Secondly the ply shape of the composite component is studied to identify ideal ply drop-off zones. The thickness of each ply shape is then analysed to remove any unrequired material from the ply stack. Lastly the ply order within the stack is optimized to find the ideal order that multi-directional plies should be laid up.  As with all optimisation processes, design performance criteria and manufacturing constraints are maintained from concept through to final design.

Composite Optimization Benefits
The composite optimization design process has a range of benefits including:

• Cuts development time and cost by providing high performance designs in the initial stages of the product development process
• Reduces product design time by eliminating the “trial and error” process of typical design iterations
• Automates calculation of the number of plies needed for each ply fiber orientation
• Automates composite laminate stacking sequence determination
• Automates incorporation of manufacturing constraints and Ply Book Rules for certified designs

Optimization applied to composite materials