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HANNOVER MESSE 2020, 20 - 24 April
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Lightweight Construction

Simulation optimizes fiber-reinforced plastics

Fiber-reinforced plastic is popular in lightweight engineering, but its production confronts small companies, in particular, with a big challenge. A new approach from the Fraunhofer Institute should help.

30 Aug. 2019
HMI-ID08-039kt-Institut-fuer-Textiltechnik
Photo: Institut für Textiltechnik (ITA)

The new software by the name of OptiDrape has been developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics (ITWM) in Kaiserslautern in collaboration with the Institute of Textile Technology (ITA) and the Institute for Management Cybernetics (IfU) , both in Aachen. The mathematical simulation process should reduce the production costs for fiber-reinforced plastics significantly. These are used because of their lightness, stability and formability especially in automobile and aircraft construction. Crucial for the material properties is the alignment and thickness of and connection between the textile fibers in the plastic part; they directly affect the draping properties, optics and stability of a component.

New fiber materials and the software-supported process should also allow small companies to produce lightweight plastics economically in future and reduce the development and production costs significantly. The textile software TexMath developed by Fraunhofer first calculates the characteristic material properties on the basis of simulation. “The new OptiDrape software builds on this and finds the optimal textile for the draping application required with the aid of machine learning,” explains Stephan Wackerle, a scientist at the Fraunhofer ITWM. OptiDrape will even optimize the component’s geometry on request.

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