Modeling CFRP Microstructures Using Optical Microscopy

Leonhardt, David
Use of carbon fiber reinforced polymers (CFRPs) is increasingly widespread due to their high strength-to-weight ratio and the ability to tailor their properties for specific applications. This makes them a desirable material for a number of aerospace and automotive applications. However, CFRPs tend to exhibit a wider scatter in material properties than is typically exhibited by other engineering materials. The creation of safe, efficient designs without excessive factors of safety requires a better understanding of this scatter. This project revolved around the creation of a suite of image processing tools utilizing MATLAB and the finite element analysis package Abaqus™. MATLAB was used to accurately measure the fiber-volume fractions of composite specimens and to create an output file containing geometric data for use in Abaqus™. Using the Abaqus™ Python scripting interface, a 3D model of the composite microstructure may be constructed. It is hoped that this model building capability will be a useful tool in understanding composite scatter.
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