Funding: Airbus Operations SAS
Region: Industrial
Project period: 2012 – 2014
Principal Investigator: Drs. Carlos Gonzalez (carlosdaniel.gonzalez@imdea.org) and Dr. Cláudio Lopes (claudiosaul.lopes@imdea.org)

Fiber-Reinforced Polymers (FRP) are nowadays extensively used in applications where outstanding mechanical properties are necessary in combination with weight savings. Good examples can be found in the A380, the last civil Airbus aircraft containing up to 25% in weight of composite materials (used for wings, fuselage sections and tail surfaces) while the A350 is expected to contain up to 52%. However, despite all existing information and current knowledge about these materials, the accurate prediction of the failure stress of composite materials and structures has been an elusive problem because of the complexity of their failure micromechanisms. Due to this lack of knowledge on the mechanical behaviour of these materials, the traditional way to tackle the problem is through extensive and costly experimental campaigns which involve material characterization through different levels of details, from small coupons to panels, subcomponents up to the final global structure.

Material testing begin at the ply coupon level involving a tremendous effort to test materials under tension, compression, shear, different directions, interlaminar toughness, etc, in order to fully certify the different ply properties. Moreover, additional tests should be performed under environmental conditions, different ageing conditions, fluids, etc, which significantly delay the experimental campaigns in months and years for a fully material certification. The aim of SIMSCREEN is to help to reduce the number of tests necessary to fully characterize by experimental campaigns a traditional unidirectional carbon composite material. To this end, a coupled experimental-computational micromechanical framework will be used. The purpose is to extend the testing pyramid at the base by including additional testing at the material constituent level and use micromechanical models to obtain ply properties used at different scales of observation.